By: Karina Keshokova
The COVID-19 pandemic effectively shut down most parts of the county and people were immediately forced into much closer quarters than they could have ever imagined. The interruption of everyone's normal routine resulted in a variety of challenges. People had to deal with a lack of exercise, additional financial strains and a continual threat to both our physical and mental health. This has contributed to intensified anxieties and fear of the future. For those who were forced to stay in together during the pandemic, these high stress external factors have created a context for propelling partners into overly critical and argumentative scenarios. The jury is still out on whether the pandemic has caused divorce rates to increase or decrease.
However, just because the courts are physically closed, does not mean the need for legal services has halted. Courts continue to operate on a limited basis and they are finding new ways of addressing the legal needs of cases via Zoom and other teleconferencing options. Certain cases requiring immediate intervention continue to be a priority as determined by the Presiding Judge; however, there are still ways to request non-emergency relief. Couples can file for divorce despite not being able to appear in court until the government determines it is safe to do so.
Divorce in the time of pandemic brings about additional questions surrounding parenting time, financial obligations, and asset distribution. Clients must keep in mind inevitable dips in asset value and fluctuations in incomes in regard to maintenance awards and child support as many Americans becoming unemployed, at least on a temporary basis. One of the most important questions for parents is accounting for parenting time while following the government implemented procedures to protect the health and safety of all individuals involved.
Navigating through uncertainty, financial variables, and court procedures can be difficult under normal circumstances. What makes the process even more difficult is navigating through heightened emotions, the complex law, and court procedures without a dedicated attorney at your side.
You are not alone in this struggle. Our team of family law attorneys can help answer your questions, manage expectations, guide you through conflict resolution and find creative solutions to attain your goals and objectives. Even under normal circumstances, questions of family law are not always clear-cut. Decisions you make can have very long lasting effects extending past the duration of the pandemic. There are certain things you can do to better prepare yourself even if you do not follow through with finalizing a divorce. We can help navigate new rules through Covid-19 adapted procedures and advise you on your options. Consultations are done over the phone in accordance with social distancing rules to protect the health and safety of our clients.