Lawyers in Philadelphia say there’s been surge in divorce filings during pandemic

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Philadelphia attorneys say calls from couples splitting up during the pandemic have surged, with a number of factors are contributing to the spike.

“People who were contemplating divorce before COVID hit, and probably shouldn’t have lived together, but stayed together and that just compounded the unhappiness in that household,” said attorney Lee Schwartz of Schwartz Law Firm.

“Whether it’s differences in co-parenting, differences in anything, whether it’s a TV show, being together 24-7 in close quarters is difficult for anyone and I think that people that previously had differences, those differences are highlighted in quarantine,” said Rebecca Kolsky of the Freedman & Lorry law firm. 

Schwartz said some couples waited to file as family court has been mostly closed the last few months, with few emergency hearings scheduled. But now with the backup of filings, it could take longer than the typical year to complete the process.

“If people do have their economics worked out, and they agree to be divorced, you could be realistically divorced in five to six months, but that’s unusual,” he said. 

Kolsky said she’s seen the same uptick, specifically involving child custody.

“With people doing remote work from home, or school from home, there’s questions on who’s watching the kids, who is teaching the kids,” she noted. “There’s questions if one parent is working, and is potentially in an environment that they’re exposed, is that a danger for the children. Basically, people have been fighting about everything and anything you can think of, as a result of COVID-19.”

Both said if you are planning to divorce amid the backup of cases, consult a lawyer and get information — you likely want to file soon, to get in line for a resolution. 

“Find out what your obligations are in a divorce and what you’re entitled to,” suggested Schwartz. “A lot of hearings have to be rescheduled. I think that is going to compound the period of time it’s going to take to get divorced unfortunately.” 

Kolsky said when it comes to children and custody issues, pick your battles. 

“It’s not going to be easy but especially when there is children involved,” she advised. “Just always try to do what is in the best interest of your children, and put your differences aside.”