More than two years after the start of the pandemic, many are living their lives as if all the viral trouble is in the past. But family law attorney Elizabeth Yang said that’s not the case for everyone.
Yang is in a unique position in which she examines the effect of the pandemic on family life on a daily basis. And she said for many, the scars suffered over the past 28 months haven’t healed for many.
“I think the spike in cases is still going to continue,” Yang said about the uptick in divorce cases in California. “There are still a ton of people who are still at home hiding. If you go out in the street, it looks like normal. But for a lot of people the pandemic is still going on. For a good percentage of the population, it’s not normal yet. There are plenty of people who are still fearful.”
Because of this, stress has been building on people, especially those in relationships and those with children, Yang said, adding for many it has gotten to a breaking point.
“As it relates to family law, they’re still sticking it out, but a lot of couples who have been holed up together for two and a half years, they’re ready to get divorced, but they feel they just can’t because of their fears,” she said, adding many who want to get divorced are just as fearful of going back out into the world as they are of ending that relationship. “The divorce cases are still on the rise and parents are definitely still fighting. In one case, I had a client come into my office and say as he tested positive from COVID-19, his wife unilaterally withheld his child from him. She wouldn’t let him see his child for 10 days. So, he came to me and asked to get a custody agreement in writing so that she is not unilaterally calling the shots.”
And that happens more often than not.
“This scenario actually has been happening a lot over the course of the pandemic,” she said. “One parent will just do what he or she wants in what is claimed as the best interest of the child. But usually, it is trampling over the rights of the other parent, or worse yet, is in defiance of a court order.”
So, for parents who find themselves in this predicament, Yang said there is a solution. It is called co-parenting. And it will save a lot of trouble down the road if parents can get on this path right away, she added.
“If you don’t have a court order dictating the rules of the divorce and child custody, you need to come together and co-parent and put down an agreement in writing,” Yang said, “This will help you navigate the rules of the divorce and custody arrangement. And it will also probably help keep you out of the need of getting a court order somewhere down the road.”
What’s the first step? Yang said installing the Talking Parents app on your phone to communicate with the other parent will make things be civil. She said it’s much more efficient than What’s App.
“If you have (What’s App), imagine how much scrolling you have to do and how many screenshots you have to take,” she said. “Also, those messages can be manipulated later. Just go and download the Talking Parents app. It’s used by the court. Each message is time stamped, can be printed into one PDF for the court and, most importantly, nothing can be deleted once it’s been sent.”
The nothing can be manipulated or deleted part is really the beauty of the Talking Parents app, Yang said.
“It’s amazing to see how civil people become when they know things can’t be taken back, or, better yet, when they can be read by a judge,” she said.
Yang has seen a sharp increase in business during the pandemic and attributes that on not just the fact that people didn’t want to be stuck in a house together with nowhere to go, but also on the fact that in today’s world, the speed of it is causing many to crack.
“Yes, people realized they didn’t want to be together after being stuck in the same house for so long,” she said. “And there’s a lot of stress on society right now, which puts a lot of stress on couples. Right now the world is moving so much faster than for previous generations. It’s definitely taking a toll on many of us.”
Persons who would like to discuss any aspect of family law can phone Yang Law Offices at (877) 492-6452 or log onto www.yanglawoffices.com.