QC lawyer says COVID-19 could lead to increased divorces, custody disputes

Published: Apr. 15, 2020 at 9:27 PM CDT
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A Quad Cities lawyer told TV6 why the COVID-19 pandemic could lead to increased divorces and child custody disputes.

Leanne Tyler, an attorney at Tyler & Associates, has worked on these types of cases for about 30 years. She said the pandemic is an ‘extremely unusual stressor’ since it highlights issues inside the home now that many people are stuck inside.

Tyler said she thinks only marriages that were struggling to begin with could be on a faster path to divorce.

“I think those marriages that end will already have had significant dysfunction. This will just bring it to an apex,” Tyler said. “That could be looked at as a good or bad thing. If you take a positive attitude you’ve removed yourself from a situation that wasn’t working and get a renewal in life to have joy and happiness. I do think good, solid marriages will become even more solid.”

Tyler doesn’t think many married couples who want to get divorced will file until social distancing regulations lift.

“It will be after society starts to reopen up and economics tend to reestablish themselves,” she said. “I think at that time we will get the greater calls. People right now are trying to get through this time period as best they can with minimal disruption.”

However, Tyler said she is already receiving more calls about child custody disputes. She said divorced parents sometimes want to switch things up now that they are working from home, and schools and some daycares are closed.

“People are very concerned about health as they should be,” Tyler said. “There are disagreements about whether a child should travel, should they be exposed to extended family members, should they be allowed to have a friend over and how should the exchanges be done.”

TV6 also reached out to Quad Cities Counseling, who gave advice for families and couples during this time.

“This is a different kind of time,” Counselor Denise Aden said. “I wouldn’t expect to resolve any new issues right now. I would go back to the basics of communicating about things you enjoy. Try to have a good time, do some family nights, plan a couples night inside. Just because you can’t go outside to a restaurant or the movies doesn’t mean you can’t set aside time for your relationship.”

Lawyers and counselors are still able to help people amid COVID-19, however it might have to be over the phone due to social distancing.