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Attorney Deborah Tate Quoted in The Providence Journal Article on COVID-19 & Divorce

Our very own attorney Deborah Tate was recently featured in an article by The Providence Journal discussing the pandemic’s effect on Rhode Island divorces. In the article, a chief judge stated that co-parents often filed emergency visitation motions at the start of the pandemic when travel restrictions and guidelines were beginning to form.

However, Deb stated that she continues to see these motions being filed. In many cases, she had to go to court to prevent children from being taken on trips during the pandemic. “You may have one parent who is very, very sensitive to all of these guidelines and wants these guidelines enforced. And then you may have another parent who says, ‘What’s the big deal? I’m [going to] have that Super Bowl party,’” she said in the article.

This seems to be a common co-parenting concern during COVID-19. With different perceptions on following these temporary health and safety guidelines, co-parents tend to get their attorneys involved, as our attorney has experienced.

But traveling with children is one of the many topics discussed in this article.

Why Divorce Rates Are Decreasing in RI

The article highlights factors that may lead to dropping divorce rates in Rhode Island. Data reveals it took an average of 136 days to get an uncontested divorce in 2020, compared to about 83 days in 2019. It now takes about 62% more time to resolve a case, according to the Rhode Island judiciary show. Altogether, divorce filings throughout RI were down 17% from 2019.

With these numbers in mind, you may question why divorce rates are declining in Rhode Island. Are couples happier in quarantine? Some experts believe happiness is not the reason for the decrease in divorce rates. Factors that may have contributed to the decline in Rhode Island divorces include:

  • Can’t afford to live alone
  • Can’t afford a lawyer
  • Court backlogs
  • Fear of going to courthouses and getting/spreading COVID-19
  • Inability to escape domestic violence

On the other hand, some experts argue that marriages have actually improved during the pandemic because couples are forced to spend more time together. Pre-pandemic, spouses were so busy working and taking care of their children that they didn’t have much time to spend one-on-one time with each other. Come COVID-19, those daily routines took a 180-degree turn and put couples in a position where they had no choice but to spend quality time at home. As such, that alone time had the potential to either help or hurt their marriages.

Nonetheless, many family law experts predict the Rhode Island divorce rate will increase once spouses can go back to their normal lives. Whether or not this holds, our Rhode Island family attorneys are prepared for it all.

If you are considering filing for divorce, get the clarity and guidance you need to make the best possible decisions for yourself and your children. Schedule a consultation with us at (401) 351-7700 to learn more!