Divorce attorney Dror Bikel talked to Suzanne Marques about how couples are making it work during even unprecedented adversity.
Live from the CBS Broadcast Center in Los Angeles, this is CBS2 News This Morning at Five.
SUZANNE MARQUES (SM):
Coming up, we’re live with a divorce lawyer who’s seeing more couples sticking together in this time of crisis. It appears some married couples who are on the brink of splitting up are having second thoughts. As times get tough, they’re finding new ways to strengthen their bonds.
Joining us this morning to talk about this phenomenon is Dror Bikel, a divorce trial lawyer from New York. Good morning.
DROR BIKEL (DB):
Good morning, Suzanne. Thank you so much for having me.
This is so fascinating. I’m sure, usually, when you take on clients, they’re dying to break up. What happened? The pandemic is making them feel more romantic, bringing them back together?
In many cases, it actually is. There’s a bunch of reasons for this, Suzanne. Number one, it’s the economy. It’s more expensive to live in two households. You have to pay two rents or two mortgages. For that reason alone, the fact that people are hurting economically, more people are deciding to stay together.
There’s the issue of health insurance. You can be on your spouse’s health insurance, and when you get divorced, you can’t, and people are worried about being infected. And, also, there’s this kind of “us against the virus” mentality, this foxhole mentality, where couples are together trying to stay healthy, and it’s actually strengthening a lot of family bonds. I’m experiencing, as a divorce attorney in New York, some people that are stepping back from filing for divorce.
And did you see this back duing the Great Recession as well, or is this different because it’s a medical emergency?
That’s a great question. In 2008, there were fewer divorce filings for sure. If you add onto this issue of health and people feeling that they need to take care of each other and take care of the children, it’s just another reason to stay together.
And tell me about your clients. You’re in New York. I’m sure you have very successful clients. Are you seeing people hit hard by this? You have, obviously, a lot of people out there who have been taken down, because being in New York, there are so many people so close to each other.
Certainly, in L.A., you guys live in homes. You have more space than we do in New York. Many of us live in apartments, and it’s affected people really, really hard. In fact, I have one client who wanted to pull back from her divorce with her husband, and he’s in ICU because of the virus. He’s intubated, and we had to get them to sign legal documents. So, how do you get somebody in the ICU to sign legal documents and to get it notarized? We were able to do that, but those are the kinds of things that we’re experiencing right now. It’s not normal times for sure.
That’s so tough. I just can’t even imagine being put in that situation. But there is a silver lining there. What do you see from those clients who are getting back together? Do you think they’ll be splitting up after the pandemic is over?
That’s a great question. It’s too early to tell, but I know a lot of people are taking a step back, taking a deep breath, reengineering their priorities, focusing on health, focusing on family, focusing on their children. Hopefully, they’ll come out of this with stronger bonds and not moving forward with their divorces.
Dror Bikel, thank you so much for joining us this morning.
Thank you, Suzanne, for having me.
We loved having you.
I really like him. We’re going to have to have him come back.