COVID-19 Led a Lot of Tennessee Residents to Look for Divorce Lawyers
Tennessee has been named as the state with the third highest number of divorce lawyer searches, behind only New Jersey and New York, since the lockdowns from COVID were lifted. This trend of divorce information seeking has been seen across the country, and even across the world, with major news outlets like CNBC and the BBC publishing articles on it.
Many couples, even those with previously strong relationships, were not prepared for the amount of “together” time that came from working remotely and losing any outside social life during lock-downs. And though the COVID-19 pandemic is now over 2 years old, its effects are still being felt by couples all over the world.
The Maryville divorce attorneys at Shepherd & Long dig deeper into this topic in today’s blog.
COVID-19 stress and its effect on relationships
The COVID-19 pandemic has been a tremendous source of stress for most Americans, with fears about health of family and friends, lock-downs, and economic issues affecting almost everyone’s state of mind. According to the American Psychological Association, in February 2021, 84% of American adults reported feeling prolonged stress. It should come as no surprise, then, that stressed individuals lead to stressed marriages, and thoughts of divorce.
DivorceAnswers.com says that more people were seeking legal advice and information about divorce during the pandemic than before it began. In fact, they noted a ”flood of divorce inquiries” during COVID-19 related lock-downs. And though it may be easy to chalk this up to lock-downs causing couples to spend TOO much time together, CNBC notes that COVID specific arguments (masking, vaccinations, etc.) are extremely common in couples seeking divorce, especially for couples with children affected by their decisions. Additionally, DivorceAnswers.com noted that lock-downs brought to light secrets within relationships – such as affairs or financial problems – due to being in such close quarters.
Quick facts about getting a divorce in Tennessee
Regardless of the reason you may be seeking divorce, it is vital to have the most up to date information about your options, especially since local laws are constantly changing. If you need information about divorce in the state of Tennessee, Shepherd & Long is here to help. In the meantime, here is some general information that might help you in your journey.
- Uncontested vs Contested Divorce: An uncontested divorce is one in which neither spouse is accused of wrongdoing – literally a no-fault divorce – and both parties can agree on all financial, property, and child-related decisions. (Ask us about our services for agreed divorces.) In a contested divorce, one party is typically accusing the other of wrong-doing that led to the dissolution of their marriage. This will often lead to more complex negotiations and potentially the need for mediation in the hopes to avoid a trial.
- A divorce can end through either a settlement or a tria Trials are much more rare than settlements, and most lawyers and judges will recommend a couple go through every possible option – including mandatory legal mediation – to avoid a trial. Trials are often long, complicated, and emotionally charged, and a settlement is always preferred. If a trial is necessary, there is no jury and a judge makes the final decisions for all divorce agreements.
- When it comes to financial and property division, Tennessee is an equitable distribution state, not a fifty-fifty state. This means that even a “straight-forward” divorce may need some additional background work and negotiation for the court to determine what is an equitable division of assets. In some cases, it may be determined that 50-50 is, in fact, the most fair outcome, but this is not always the case and many factors can come into play when making this determination.
The importance of a good Maryville divorce lawyer
While a divorce can be completed without a lawyer, most experts would agree that a lawyer is a vital part of the process in order to ensure a divorce agreement is accurate, fair, and as uncomplicated as possible. A divorce is the breaking of a legal contract, and even ad divorce that doesn’t ultimately end up at a trial can be messy and complicated. And remember, Tennessee is an equitable distribution state, so a couple who tries to split their assets fifty-fifty in order to avoid negotiations and lawyers may be putting one party at a disadvantage.
Of course, a lawyer is even more vital in a contested divorce that might get more complicated. Laws related to things like alimony, child support, child custody, etc. can be extremely nuanced and may vary by location and occasionally change. A good Maryville divorce lawyer will be able to keep up with this ever-changing field and help their client to feel comfortable with the most equitable agreement when their divorce is finalized. Additionally, a contested divorce can often become emotional for one or both parties, and negotiations and mediation can quickly break down without the help of a lawyer being able to speak for an emotionally charged spouse.
Shepherd & Long, P.C.’s divorce lawyers collectively have more than four decades of experience in family law, and will work to ensure your divorce is as smooth and fair as possible. When you have questions about divorce, or any other family law issue, you need to speak to an experienced team. Call our office at 865-982-8060, or complete our contact form to schedule a consultation today. From our office in Maryville, we serve clients in Blount County and throughout East Tennessee.