The United States, along with the rest of the world, is facing a global pandemic with COVID-19, a novel coronavirus that has affected almost every area of the world and aspect of life. With many local areas still requiring residents to stay home as much as possible, you may feel concerned about your legal rights regarding a divorce during this unprecedented time. Learn how COVID-19 can impact your divorce.
Under the law, you still have the legal right to file for a divorce. Every court is now operating independently and making decisions on whether to open according to their own comfort levels and ability to handle legal matters through the telephone or videoconferencing. You should always make sure to call a courthouse first before you go to make sure that they are open, or if there are other ways that you can legally submit paperwork for your divorce that would include financial disclosures, child custody parenting plans, or child support calculations. It is important to note that divorce is not considered an essential matter, and you may face long delays as the courts try to navigate this new normal while still trying to ensure that everyone’s legal rights remain protected.
Additionally, if you have already filed for divorce, you should check to make sure that you still are obligated to submit paperwork and other materials under the same deadlines. Courts may accept paperwork or conduct hearings by electronic means or by telephone. Unless told otherwise, make sure to always meet the deadlines imposed by the court, or else you could lose the opportunity to protect your legal rights in a divorce.
If you are in the process of a divorce, you should continue to maintain the same routine prior to the COVID-19 global pandemic. If you find that the other parent becomes difficult or argumentative regarding child custody matters, you still have legal rights. While it is always better for both parties to agree and come to an amicable resolution, this is not always possible. Remember that if you are going through a divorce and you try to modify any child custody arrangements, the court may simply not get to you any time soon. Do your best to come to some sort of compromise regarding child custody arrangements. Much of this is unprecedented legal territory.
If you are considering a divorce, leaving the marital home can impact whether you are entitled to the marital home in the division of marital assets during a divorce. While your case will be dependent on your own facts and circumstances, there are specific judges and specific courts that tend to favor the spouse that stays in the marital home. Additionally, during this time of a global pandemic, you may find it difficult to find a new place to live when you make the decision to move out. Try to see if there are any ways that you and your spouse can find a way to compromise or come to an amicable solution.
Many people in the U.S. are still under modified quarantine orders, and there is no guarantee the country will not have to go back into quarantine if the virus takes a more lethal turn. Try to visit with your spouse about what would happen if one of you got sick. Who would take care of the children? What if a child gets sick? Who can stay home from work if necessary? Who has a preexisting medical condition that makes them more prone to developing complications related to COVID-19? What are some solutions that can occur now that are perhaps unconventional, but will work during this unconventional time?
If you are considering getting a divorce during the time of a global pandemic, expect the unexpected. Delays and creative solutions will become the likely norm during this unprecedented time. If you are considering a divorce in the midst of this pandemic, learn how an experienced divorce attorney can help you with your case and help answer your questions. Contact the Law Office of Michelanne Hrubic at 951-888-0631 to discuss your options and plan your next best steps.