Marital tempests likely to follow Superstorm Sandy

Natural disasters such as Superstorm Sandy have a way of literally shaking things up. The stress of dealing with the wreckage after such an event can even push some married couples to consider divorce. Case in point: the divorce rate in New Orleans jumped up 10 percent after hurricane Katrina.

While there are no doubt feelings of animosity between spouses in New York who are going through a divorce, it may be a good idea to do one's best to set those feelings aside during the post-storm recovery efforts. This is particularly important if children are involved.

Divorcing couples may want to make a list of things to do and try to split the chores up evenly. Spouses who are not able to work closely with each other for long periods of time should do what they can to remain physically apart. For example, one person cleans the basement while the other inventories the upstairs bedrooms.

If the stress and anxiety get out of hand, don't be afraid to call emergency services. Tensions tend to run high after a natural disaster, which can lead to bullying, threats and even physical abuse. If domestic violence erupts in the home, call the police right away. It would also be beneficial to reach out to crisis counseling services for help with the emotional fallout related to the storm.

Perhaps now more than ever, New York parents need to be flexible about child custody arrangements. The storm will likely disrupt visitation plans and interfere with parenting time. Consider discussing the possibility of make-up time to compensate for the disruption.

Lastly, parents are still on the hook for spousal and child support payments. However, paying parents who experience an interruption in their income can petition the court for a temporary agreement modification until their money issues get resolved.

Source: Huffington Post, "Dealing with Disasters & Aftermath Of Superstorm Sandy, Divorced or Not," Bari Zell Weinberger, Nov. 12, 2012

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