In crude nuclear bombs, radioactive elements are slammed together where the pressure and mass create… well… critical mass, a gigantic radioactive explosion, and massive fallout.
Social distancing is a new buzzword describing one of the steps experts are recommending we take to fight the spread of COVID-19. Along with social distancing, many people are also on self-imposed quarantines, working from home, and generally not risking exposure to anyone who could be carrying the virus. Compressing the modern nuclear family certainly has the potential for critical mass, explosion, and fallout. Hence, the term “family compression.”
I have had several people confide in me, “If I have to spend anymore time home alone with my [kids/wife/partner] I am going to [explode/implode/commit a crime/get divorced].” We could see a massive spike in birthrates nine months from now or we could see an increase in crime and divorce (love people, love is the answer).
Certainly, this is a stressful time for everyone. Many people are trying to work from home, which creates a whole host of problems for those who are not already used to it. School shutdowns and day care interruptions mean more people at home at unusual times. Add to that financial stress—cuts to jobs, wages, and retirement account values—and close confinement, both of which can lead to more conflict even between the most loving of people.
Right now, social media and internet magazines are filled with helpful ideas on how to pass the time. From catching up on entertainment (thank you for all the early released games and moves!), dusting off board games and puzzles, or just taking some much needed “me time,” there is no shortage of things that we can do with any forced time home—and it is probably not a bad lesson to re-learn how to have fun without going out!
That being said, there are still plenty of downsides to isolation. Mental health can be negatively impacted and relationships can be strained. We urge everyone to take no drastic life altering decisions during times of turmoil, unless you or a loved one are in danger, in which case call 911. Stress can cloud reason and erode common sense. Eat well, get lots of rest, and exercise (try an online exercise or yoga class) to fight off depression and anxiety with natural endorphins.
We recently received some advice from “leaders of groups that deal with families in crisis.” They gave us seven tips to provide you if you’re divorce or separated and sharing custody of your children during this pandemic. However, we believe many of them are just plain good advice.
Follow all CDC, state, and local guidelines. Wash your hands and maintain social distancing. Stay informed with RELIABLE media sources.
Be honest about the seriousness of the pandemic, but be calm and convey to your children that everything will return to normal soon.
We’re mainly talking about court orders and custody agreements here; if school is “closed” or “virtual,” continue to follow your plan as if it were open and operating as normal.
Plans change and you will have to change some things. Try to be flexible and creative with solutions on how to make sure the other parent is involved.
Be honest with your co-parent about any possible exposure to COVID-19 and how to deal with it.
Provide make-up time with the parent who missed out—because if it were you, you'd want it. (Not to mention that the court will not look kindly on it later if you don’t.)
The pandemic may have impacted your finances. If you are to pay child support and can't pay the entire thing, pay some. If you receive it, and the payor can't make the entire payment, work with them. These circumstances are temporary.
If you do face legal troubles during this difficult time, we are open 24/7 and have a variety of ways to meet with new clients. Not only are our offices and conference rooms regularly cleaned, with hand sanitizer available to everyone who comes in, but we have phone and video/FaceTime options available for virtual meetings. Give us a call at 386-222-6677 to schedule an appointment with a family lawyer today.