Divorcing During the Coronavirus Pandemic? What to Know & How to Proceed
The spread of COVID-19 and our country’s response to it have impacted American lives in countless ways. Everything from buying groceries to educating children has been modified in an attempt to protect society as a whole.
Unfortunately for those in the midst of divorce, legal proceedings have not been immune to the changing times. Whether you filed for divorce shortly before everything started closing or you’ve recently decided to end your marriage, here’s what you should know about moving forward during the pandemic:
1. Procedural Delays Are Likely
Even uncontested and entirely amicable divorces must pass through the court system before they can be finalized. Because the courts are no longer operating at full capacity—and many of them are closed entirely—that means virtually every couple with a pending case can expect delays.
Those who are already divorced but want to modify their support arrangement—a relatively common scenario given the economic climate—could also run into issues. Generally speaking, only individuals facing emergencies—those who need relief from abuse, for example—can expect a timely resolution to their case as long as stay-at-home orders and other pandemic-related restrictions are in place.
Regardless of the facts of your case, a knowledgeable family law attorney can evaluate the circumstances to approximate the most likely timeline for resolving everything. Simply knowing what kind of delays to anticipate can relieve a considerable amount of stress surrounding the proceedings. What’s more, you can use the time to settle into your new life.
2. Hurdles May Arise When Dividing Property
The financial devastation of COVID-19 cannot be overstated. Americans all over the country are feeling the strain, which can make liquidating assets especially challenging. If you share a home, for example, and you want to sell it and split the proceeds as part of the settlement agreement, it could be a while before the property will fetch a decent price.
If your situation is especially complicated, your legal team will refer to various specialists, like economists and financial planners, to help you determine how to walk away with what you deserve.
3. Your Co-Parenting Arrangement May Need Modification
Schools in New York are closed through the end of the academic year, and there’s no telling whether they will reopen in September. If you share children with your soon-to-be ex and they happen to be of school age, you probably designed your parenting plan around the academic calendar. As such, it may need to be adjusted come fall.
Chances are your employment schedules impacted the arrangement, as well. If one of you is no longer working because of the pandemic, that could also warrant a change to the schedule you initially proposed. Thankfully, devising a new arrangement should be manageable, as long as both you and your spouse are willing to cooperate while prioritizing the best interests of your children. Your lawyer can help you propose strategic compromises based on your family’s new routine and then submit the necessary documentation to get the modifications approved.
Call 716-855-3761 to Discuss Your Case with a New York Divorce Attorney
If you’ve decided to end your marriage, turn to David C. Sanchez at LoTempio P.C. Law Group for help navigating the divorce proceedings. Attorney Sanchez has been in the legal field since 1998, and he is well-versed in all aspects of matrimonial and family law, including custody, child support, spousal maintenance, and property division. Call 716-855-3761 or fill out our Contact Form to schedule a free consultation with a divorce lawyer in New York.