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Family Legal Issues in the Pandemic: How They Affect the Society’s Basic Units

It is known the family is the basic unit of our society. It makes a home where spouses and children are supposed to take care of each other. The pandemic brought about by the COVID-19 crisis is meant to bring family members closer to each other.

Unfortunately, the pandemic has reared its ugly head, which has led to the rise of family legal issues. Legal matters concerning co-parenting, child custody, as well as child and spousal support, have arisen. The pandemic has even exacerbated the rise of domestic violence and divorce cases.

Let’s take a look at family law issues that have arisen during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Child Custody and Visitation

When it comes to child custody, every family must strictly comply with custody orders. No matter how inconvenient they are due to the pandemic, they must always uphold the laws of the land. The provisions also include child visitation, which can be an issue during the pandemic. Know that travels are allowed for the sole purpose of child custody and visitation.

Keep in mind, however, that custody orders aren’t final. They can be modified based on grounds like the quality of the environment, parental guidance capability, and financial support. If you struggle to keep up with the provisions, communicate with the other party to reach a consensual agreement.

Child and Spousal Support Modification

It’s apparent how the pandemic has made every individual and every family financially crippled. Think of the job losses and business closures since the COVID-19 outbreak in March of last year. If you’re one of those financially impacted, you may struggle to provide child and spousal support.

Know, however, that financially struggling parents or spouses have the option to seek support modification. There must be a “substantial change in circumstances” for this modification to be justified. These circumstances may include the loss of jobs and medical conditions that have resulted in financial constraints.

Co-parenting Challenges

Co-parenting applies to separated or divorced parents. This post-separation agreement covers how parents will work hand in hand to raise their children despite the separation. This agreement includes child visitation and parenting time. However, these can be problematic amidst a pandemic.

Keep in mind, however, that stay-at-home orders may not necessarily affect the child custody schedule. It means that you will still be permitted to travel for the sole purpose of facilitating child visitation or custody. However, understand that shared parenting in different states proves to be challenging in a pandemic. Therefore, act with common sense to avoid getting COVID-infected and avoid compromising your family’s health.

Domestic Violence 

There’s no denying how a home can be a dangerous place for victims of domestic violence. These victims are usually women, children, and LGBTQ+ individuals. As the COVID-19 pandemic has forced families to stay at home, expect the increase of domestic violence. It’s good that the World Health Organization has provided actionable steps for responding to domestic violence.

But even before the pandemic, domestic violence was already prevalent. In fact, United Nations reported 243 million women and girls who became victims of physical and sexual abuse in 2020. This year, domestic violence has further increased, caused by the rising unemployment, health problems, financial stress, and increased anxiety and depression.

Divorce Cases

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to rising breakups and divorce cases around the world. A legal contract creation website has claimed an increase in their sales of divorce agreements by up to 34 percent. Also, a leading law firm in the UK has reported an increase of divorce inquiries by 122 percent between July and October 2020. These reports mean that more and more married couples have been looking to separate since the COVID-19 outbreak.

It’s no surprise how a global crisis can impact every family and shake the core of any relationship. The decision to file for divorce can be attributed to domestic violence, financial disagreements, stress, anxiety, and depression. If you’re one of them, consider hiring a family attorney to proceed with your divorce filing. But think twice before doing so, as you and your spouse may still be able to rise above your personal issues in a pandemic situation.

It’s apparent how the pandemic has impacted the basic units of our society. One cannot simply ignore family legal matters such as child custody, child and spousal support, co-parenting, domestic violence, and divorce cases. As such, the legal communities must take robust actions to address these legal concerns among impacted families. But ultimately, it is every family’s responsibility to take care of each other, especially in the midst of a global health crisis.

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