Divorce, child custody battles on the rise amid pandemic

Uptick in divorce during a pandemic

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - More couples are filing for divorce during the current health crisis.

Family Law Attorney Mitch Moskovitz says it appears the COVID-19 quarantine has put a strain on marriages.

“We have seen in the last several weeks, certain couples who have accelerated their planning for divorce based on the fact that living with one another in that truly closed environment has created added stress,” Moskovitz said.

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For many families, divorce will lead to child custody hearings. Tennessee recently changed its custody laws for the first time in 15 years. Moskovitz says it is mostly to address changes in the cost of living over the years.

“I don’t see that much of a difference in the practical application, and the cases that are heard. I don’t think there’s going to be a tremendous onslaught of cases,” he explained.

However, parents already sharing custody have run into the matter of co-parenting in a pandemic. It has led to adjustments to visitation arrangements because of social distancing concerns.

“There’s no rule of law per se that says in this circumstance, because it’s so new, how each individual judge in their own subjective way may handle each particular set of facts or circumstance,” Moskovitz said.

Judges have done their best to hear cases in the age of social distancing, but it is not the same as in-person hearings. Those involved in family court proceedings could eventually see an increased caseload.

Moskovitz added, “I think there certainly will be an impact. The degree to which time will tell.”

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