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Divorce Rate and the Pandemic

Hargrave Family Law’s founder, Jennifer Hargrave was a recent guest on KRLD Radio. The topic discussed was the pandemic and how it had affected the divorce rate.

 KLRD RADIO

The host started by commenting that during the pandemic, interest in divorces skyrocketed by 34%,  and newly married couples were the most likely to file. He invited Jennifer to comment on whether she had seen the same thing. 

 Jennifer Hargrave:

Jennifer agreed that there had been a definite increase in the number of divorces that are coming through the door at Hargrave Family Law.  She commented that during quarantine, couples are stuck at home. With nothing to distract them, they realize that they really didn’t like each other. At the same time, courts in North Texas did not shut down.  Hearings were  conducted via Zoom.  As were mediation and collaborative divorce meetings. 

 Jennifer explained that in her experience as a divorce lawyer, she has seen that in times of stress, such as in quarantine, if the foundation of a relationship isn’t solid, it’s not unusual for it to falter.  At Hargrave Family Law, we ask whether a couple has overall satisfaction in their marriage? Do they feel like they have a healthy relationship and are able to build that solid foundation? 

 Unfortunately, when that solid foundation is not there, whether that is because of financial stress, not having enough time for each other, or perhaps due to a loss – the loss of a child, for example, is a huge stressor on a family – the bonds of that relationship will be tested. 

 KLRD Radio:

The radio host asked how a divorce attorney  handles the situation if the couple are at a pivotal point in their relationship, that could go either way. Although not counselors, would a good divorce lawyer try to help the couple they fix things and what would the conversion be like?

Jennifer Hargrave:

A lot of people who come in to the office are there wondering what a divorce might look like for them. It’s a valuable step. Evaluating your options and sitting down with a lawyer to get those questions answered is a valuable first step. So many ideas about divorce come from Hollywood or from New York, because those are the ones that get in the tabloids. But things are very different in Texas so it’s a good idea to find out what your options are in this state? What is your settlement likely to look like? What different processes are available?

But another thing that is discussed in that first meeting is whether the person feels that there is any hope that their marriage might be salvaged. 

 If that is the case, then Jennifer says, there are fabulous resources in north Texas that really help couples work on their relationship. And, there are alternatives to traditional marriage counselling available. While traditional marriage counseling can work, if both parties are committed to making it work, it is  less successful in cases where one of the partners already has their foot out the door.  In that case, Jennifer advises people to try discernment counseling that really helps them gain clarity and insight.