I recently got a call from a man who had hoped to avoid divorce, but found that the forced closeness of sheltering in place—and all the “nagging” it precipitated—was just too much to tolerate any longer. He wanted out sooner rather than later.
I received another call from a woman who didn’t want to get married to the person she’s been living with, and now sheltering in place with. But, because they’ve been together so long and foresee that status continuing—for financial as much as other reasons—she wanted some help structuring a financial agreement centered around sharing expenses and responsibilities, including parenting and home schooling, so that she didn’t feel unfairly taken advantage of.
The COVID-19 crisis has certainly changed relationships—some people we want to see or hug, but can’t; some people we may not want to see, but are stuck with; some people we wish we could talk to face to face.
The thing is, if we’re following “the rules” (which admittedly change as more is learned about how this crazy virus works), how we conduct ourselves with, and around, strangers and loved ones differs from how it was before. These differences can cause chafing, conflict, disagreements, and relationship challenges. How these obstacles are handled can make all the difference between those relationships that last and those that don’t.
So some relationships may end in divorce, while others will grow stronger. Some might result in a separation; others in a second honeymoon.
The difference in results is often rooted in the ability to have difficult but constructive conversations, and to find find mutually acceptable solutions to the particular irritants or problems that have been exacerbated by sheltering in place.
We at Brigitte Schmidt Bell, P.C. are trained to help you have those difficult conversations, whether in person, when we can do that again; or virtually, if the need is more urgent. Sometimes the result is a temporary compromise to see you through these hard times; other times, it may be a formal written agreement.
What it’s called depends on what your current status is, and what you would like it to be:
- If you’re engaged, or hoping to become engaged or married, it’s a prenuptial or premarital agreement.
- If you’re married, and hoping to stay that way, it’s a postnuptial agreement.
- If you’re married, and not sure where you’re headed, it’s a postnuptial agreement.
- If you’re married, and not planning to remain so, it’s a divorce agreement.
- If you’re roommates, but have issues, it’s a contract.
Whatever the issues, we can help you discuss them and structure agreements that clarify who does what, who pays for what, what is bought and paid for, and other financial issues. We can facilitate understandings regarding who is responsible for childcare, homeschooling, daily chores, and so on.
While these may seem like “small things” not worthy of professional help, these are often precisely the issues that people remain stuck on, ultimately resulting in frustration and anger.
We provide the structure and context to allow constructive, thoughtful discussions about your particular challenges. We can assist in creating lists and agendas of the issues that need to be addressed in order to tone down the level of hostility. Our goal is to help you explore what each of you really needs, and wants, and what the options are for optimizing the results.