What You Need to Know About Filing for Divorce During COVID
Divorce is never an easy process to go through, but the coronavirus pandemic brings a unique set of challenges. Some couples have made the difficult decision to divorce as a result of spending long periods of lockdown together. The divorce process now looks a bit different thanks to COVID-19 concerns.
What’s changed about divorce during COVID and what’s remained the same?
Learn more about important divorce issues in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic below.
Stay-at-Home Orders and Preparing for a Divorce During COVID
Spouses are spending more time at home due to remote working and virtual schooling. If you are considering a divorce, it may be more difficult to talk in private or prepare your documents. Keep in mind that your spouse at home may be able to overhear your conversations with an attorney.
Challenges in Dividing Up Your Marital Assets
Your home is likely the largest and most expensive asset that you own. Changes in the housing market have many people wondering about selling it in a divorce. A common concern is whether having to sell a marital home during the pandemic means selling at a major loss.
One of the good things to keep in mind is that home values have not dropped much. It may take more effort to list and sell your home, however. This means that you may want to prepare for some delays in closing.
How Unemployment and Financial Difficulties Affect Support Obligations
With so many people unemployed, financial difficulties are a serious concern in divorce. You may be wondering how your spouse will be able to pay alimony or child support. The court may modify orders based on new economic circumstances.
This does not mean that you should give up on protecting your interests if your spouse is unemployed. An experienced attorney can help you reach an arrangement that works for you.
Remember that you are still obligated to make child support or alimony payments throughout the pandemic. If you need help with reducing these payments, you should speak with a knowledgeable family law attorney about your options. The court may be more reasonable in working with you to keep up with your payment obligations. The worst thing you can do is ignore child support or alimony payments because you are having financial issues. The court may hold you in contempt for failing to make payments.
Getting Through Court Hearings and Conferences During the Pandemic
You are still able to file the legal paperwork to start a divorce. However, courts are handling cases much slower than usual thanks to the shutdowns. Most courts are not open to the public regularly. They have backlogged case schedules that will take months to catch up.
Unlike before the pandemic, expect that most of your legal divorce proceedings will not take place in person.
Remote Court Proceedings During the Pandemic
Many court hearings and conferences are handled over video conferencing. This means that you and your lawyer need to have a good internet connection. You may also need to practice being comfortable on the screen ahead of time.
Mediation and Conferences Over Video
Negotiations with your spouse can end up being more time-consuming. It may be more difficult to reach an agreement when you cannot talk in person. Be prepared for these processes to take longer than usual. It may even take multiple attempts at negotiations to reach agreements.
Delays in Scheduling
Scheduling hearings, depositions and conferences can also take more time. There are more scheduling challenges now that so many people are working from home. Your attorney will have to coordinate around these calendar issues to make it work for everyone.
Figuring Out Custody and Parenting Time
Custody and parenting time are now more complex. Changes to work and school schedules are making scheduling more difficult than usual. Some parents may also be responsible for assisting their kids with virtual learning. It may be impossible for some parents to do this and maintain their work schedule.
One of the ways that an experienced attorney can help with this is in helping with modifying custody agreements. The need for flexibility in scheduling child care and visitations is greater than ever before.
You may also have concerns about your children being exposed to the coronavirus during visitation. Even so, you should not refuse to send your children with your ex-spouse. This would mean violating a court custody and visitation order. Instead of taking matters into your own hands, consult with an attorney quickly. The goal is to come up with an arrangement that keeps everyone safe and healthy.
Staying Safe and Healthy When Working with Your Divorce Attorney
Meeting with an attorney in person looks a bit different in the pandemic. Social distancing and mask requirements are part of the new normal. Some attorneys may only be accepting remote meetings with clients by telephone or video conferencing.
Contact an Experienced Divorce Attorney
For help with getting a divorce during these uncertain times, a trusted attorney for divorce during COVID is your best resource. At Hoffman DiMuzio, we put our in-depth knowledge of the divorce process and our many years of experience to work for our clients across South Jersey.
Call the helpful legal team at Hoffman DiMuzio today at 856.469.4562. Speak with a seasoned family law attorney about your situation to start handling your divorce as efficiently as possible.