Sanity in the Time of COVID-19: Maintaining Mental Health During the Coronavirus Pandemic
You’ve likely seen plenty of posts on social media joking about the emotional and psychological effect of the COVID-19 crisis. Perhaps these posts poke fun at a fear of the virus itself, make observations about the individuals hoarding food and necessities, or joke about working from home and self-isolation. Though humor is important in times of crisis and uncertainty, experts are concerned about a rise in mental health issues during this period of time, most notably with anxiety and depression.
According to an article by Dr. Yalda Safai for ABC News, nearly 7 million individuals in the United States are affected by generalized anxiety disorder, and about 6 million individuals in the United States experience some type of panic disorder. Mental health experts expect rates of anxiety and depression to increase before the crisis is over.
So what can you do in order to keep mentally healthy (or try to become more mentally healthy) during this crisis? The National Alliance of Mental Illness recommends trying to keep a daily routine as close as possible to your previous routine. For example, individuals should keep up their morning rituals as much as they can. They encourage dressing in regular work attire, even to just work from home. They also encourage regular breaks.
An article by Noma Nazish for Forbes offers some additional tips, obtained from experts. First, if you’ve been feeling more anxious lately, it may be helpful for you to cut back on reading news and social media. Experts also recommend trying to fill social media feeds with things that make you happy. If someone on your social medial feed is constantly sharing posts that make you anxious, angry, or upset, considering putting them on “mute” to temporarily stop seeing their posts.
Next, the experts recommending making sure the updates and information you are getting is from an accurate source. It is also important to keep things in perspective, focusing on the actual symptoms of the virus for most of the population, the steps governments are taking to keep people healthy. In the oft-quoted words of Fred Rogers, “When I was a boy and I would se scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”
Experts also recommending maintaining connections with friends and family through phone calls, texting, video chats, etc. Deep breathing exercises and meditation can help calm anxiety, and keeping busy and physical anxiety can help keep you mentally and physically healthy.
Finally, those who are doing what the experts recommend but still feeling overwhelmed can seek mental health care, as many therapists are offering appointments via telephone or video chat. The National Alliance of Mental Illness has additional resources, which can be found at: https://www.nami.org/Find-Support/NAMI-HelpLine/NAMI-Resource-Library. Additionally, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is free, confidential, and available 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255.
Landlord/Tenant Issues During Virus Crisis
Businesses that were thriving only a couple months ago and attempting to merely survive during the coronavirus crisis that has impact the entire world. Gyms, restaurants, movie theaters, retail stores and offices are all feeling the pain. It did not take long before many businesses and to prioritize how to spend their limited resources and decided to just stop paying their rent.
Deciding to delay, or not pay their rent at all, was made easier by moratoriums on evictions and foreclosures. If small business have to choose between paying their rent, or paying their employees or putting food on table for their families, it is an easy decision.
Before simply choosing not to pay their rent, tenants should first attempt to negotiate an agreement with their landlord. Whether it is reducing rent, postponing rent, or attempting to break the lease, we advise you to contact your landlord before simply stop paying rent. Consider that the landlord may not be a large corporation and could be in the same position as you, and may depend on your rent put food on his table. The trickle down damage cannot be underestimated. The tenant fails to pay his rent and then the landlord cannot pay his bills, and so on. Many landlords are likely receiving a flood of calls to and from tenants. When times are better, the landlord will not forget who was responsive and responsible and who was not.
These same common sense approaches are generally applicable to residential landlords as well. Pecos Law Group has experienced lawyers in both residential and commercial landlord/tenant issues.
CAN THE FAMILY COURT MAKE DIVORCING PARTIES FILE A JOINT TAX RETURN?
The short answer is yes. Under Nevada law the court has the authority to make an equitable disposition of the community property of the parties. When making an equitable distribution of the parties’ community property, the trial court must consider the tax consequences of the property division. In doing so, the court should consider the benefit each party receives from the yearly marital income, as well as the tax liability the income creates. When dividing community property, “trial courts must consider tax consequences when, as in the case at hand, there is proof of an immediate and specific tax liability.” The court, therefore, likely has the discretion to compel parties to file joint income tax returns when equitable.
While there are no cases on point in Nevada, other jurisdictions are split on the issue. The majority of states, however, derive the court’s authority to compel parties to file income tax returns jointly from the court’s discretion to consider tax issues when equitably distributing marital property. These states include Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Kentucky, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Dakota, and Ohio.
In community property states, such as Nevada, where all income is joint, it makes sense that the court should have the discretion to order the parties to file a joint tax return because it likely minimizes any liability or enhances a benefit to the community. As a practical matter, if the court lacked the authority to order a joint tax return the court could achieve the same result by ordering one party to share the benefit, or the burden, of having filed an individual return.