As the coronavirus effects everyone across the country, courthouse closures have added to that daily stress. According to Manhattan divorce trial lawyer Dror Bikel, couples are actually withdrawing their court filings amid the pandemic.
One America’s Lilia Fifield caught up Bikel to learn more.
LILIA FIFIELD (LF):
Welcome back. As the Coronavirus affects everyone across the country, courthouse closures have added to that daily stress. Joining me now is Manhattan divorce trial lawyer, Dror Bikel, who says that couples are actually withdrawing their court filings amid the pandemic.
Dror, thank you for joining me this morning. Good to see you. You’re in New York, which is one of the hardest hit states, which I feel gives you a better idea of what we can expect to see in other hotspots. So, just to start us off here, tell us a little bit, what would you say is the percentage of clients that have asked you for their divorce filings to be withdrawn as the courts reopen?
DROR BIKEL (DB):
Good morning, Lilia. Thank you so much for having me. I think that everybody that has not filed for divorce, people that have reached out to us but have yet to start the process, they’re all rethinking what to do. Everybody needs to consider what’s happening economically and with the virus, so people that haven’t filed are rethinking the whole process.
For those that have filed, a large percentage – I don’t want to say “half” – but a large percentage are now rethinking whether they want to go forward with the divorce.
Very interesting. You know, we’ve seen a lot of unfortunate news, domestic violence going up, so it’s really good to see some good news from you. We would assume, as you just mentioned, many people might be making this decision based on practicalities, one of them being income uncertainty for a lot of people right now. Would you say this is the case for some of your clients?
For sure. I mean, this happened in 2008 as well. When you get divorced, you have to pay for two households. That’s two rents, two mortgages, two cartons of milk. It’s just more expensive to be separated. And because of the economic uncertainty, people are rethinking moving forward with their divorce.
There’s also the practical issue of health insurance. You can be on your spouse’s health insurance, but you can’t if you’re divorced. If you’re worried about being infected and getting sick, that can be an important factor.
But there’s also this kind of “us against the virus,” this foxhole mentality that couples are experiencing. We’re together in apartments here in New York, and people are worried about their health, worried about their spouse’s health, the health of their children, and they need help juggling it all and taking care of the household and taking care of everybody. So, that is actually strengthening family bonds, and people are really rethinking their relationships in light of the virus.
I’m glad you mentioned that. That’s something that I do want to focus on. It’s more of a positive trend that we’re seeing. We’re seeing families hopefully getting stronger during these very hard times. So, do you believe this pandemic is somewhat healing? Has it brought reflection to many of your clients? What have you heard from them?
I do, Lilia. I think people are taking a deep breath, taking a step back, reengineering their priorities, thinking about what’s important, including their families and their children, and really rethinking this issue of moving forward with their divorce and, perhaps, exploring reconciliation and ways to move forward together instead of separately.
Well, Dror, thank you very much for that positive message. It’s something that a lot of people need to do, not just if you’re going through divorce or if you’ve filed. I love how you said, “Just take a deep breath, we’re all going to get through this,” and I really appreciate your positivity. Thank you for being on with us.
Thank you so much for having me.