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Divorce Attorney Nancy Chemtob's Reflection Amid The Pandemic

Isabelle Canelli | July 16, 2020 | People

With a thriving city practice, a flourishing Hamptons satellite office and a fragile state of lifelong commitment to love, business is booming for power divorce attorney Nancy Chemtob.

L6A2227.jpgWeekends are the busiest times for Chemtob, who finds her balance in transcendental meditation.

What has the recent pandemic taught you about marriage?

I recently got a call for a prenup and thought, ‘They should skip straight to the divorce’—that’s how busy it has been. But the reason for the tension is understandable; it’s not the spending time together that causes the divorce. Instead it is really having to spend time with your spouse with no distractions from other people, dinners out, movies and no sports to watch. If you don’t have a strong foundation and true love, marriages do begin to unravel. You can’t fake it after 80-plus days. Everyone is stressed eitherfinancially, having kids homewith no school and camp, or not knowing what the world will look like when this is over. I am a big believer in marriage— proven by the fact that I am now on my second—although my prenup says ‘What is mine is mine, and what is yours is mine.’ I had a good lawyer! My advice is: Wait until this pandemic is over and see how your spouse looks to you next July 4.

Did you observe any specificdivorce-related problems during this time?

Those already divorced have to deal with custody arrangements and concerns of where the child has been during the other parent’s time and are they socially distancing—not trusting they’re safe from the coronavirus. Parents are not returning their children if they are concerned, even in violation of their child custody agreements, so judges need to make very important decisions. I have spent many hours on Skype calls with judges determining these cases, and they’re often heartbreaking as health concerns further disrupt families. In addition, there has been so much upheavalthat many clients are seeking toreduce their financial support.

How difficult is it to unwind from your day at work?

At times I find ithard to unwind from work since I am usually replaying my day or preparing for the next. I am truly on call 24/7 since there really are no ‘urgent family issues’ that arise during workinghours. Divorce and conflict usuallywait for weekends, long vacations or stressful situations like this pandemic. The word sanctuary would mean to you... A sense of safety. Transcendental meditation is mysafe place, where I find a place ofpeace that is conducive to rest and relaxation. Its safety also makes it a platform for creativity and productivity.

Did you pick up any hobbies while spending time out East?

My most recent hobby has been selecting shells at the beach each day, then drawing on them to commemorate days of quarantine. Yesterday was day 80, and I have already picked an enormous shell I found for day 100. Some of the shells are broken like thesetimesand I find that to be very symbolic.

Tags: q&a

Photography by: Zev Starr-Tambor