NISKAYUNA, NY (WRGB) -- "I've never seen anything like this before in my entire career to be quite honest with you."
Eric Tepper has been an attorney for more than 35 years. One of the partners of Gordon, Tepper and DeCoursey Attorneys at Law, Tepper explained there's been a surge in people coming to his practice for divorce and family law matters ever since the pandemic started.
“The pandemic really was the straw that broke the camel's back in those types of marriages."
What he's observed is that people with very strong marriages going into the pandemic by in large did well, but in marriages where couples were teetering even before Covid-19 he said so many of them did not have success.
“People literally were forced to be together 24/7 - if they really didn't want to be together, this really was too much."
The relationships that were relatively weak to begin with where work might not have been done to preserve the marriage, didn't just die as most of the world was forced to shut down. Tepper said there were several other factors that impacted fallen marriages.
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“People have lost jobs, people have been furloughed, people are unable to pay their rent, people are unable to pay their mortgages - these things are big financial stressors on marriages."
Marriage Coaches and Service Leaders, Jerry and Susan Perkins said the pandemic has really exacerbated issues within families. The Perkins’ have been married for 22 years and explained even they have to work at their marriage.
“We are able to encourage other couples because we’ve been where they have been,” said Jerry Perkins.
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Back at the law office, custody issues and differences in parenting brought on as a result of COVID have not helped according to Tepper. He added that couples aren't just arguing about whether their kids should wear face masks, but politics have also driven a wedge between spouses.
Susan Perkins explained, “Whatever your faith belief is seek help, talk about what it is that’s happening in your life, make sure you have a support group.”
Tepper said when everything came to a halt in March, ongoing cases were put on hold and new cases couldn't be started. Although courts are starting to reschedule trials, they are being careful about who and how many people come into the courthouses so the overall process is taking months longer than they ever did before because of the back log and courts still trying to get back up to speed. Tepper suggested if at all possible to work toward a negotiated resolution.