Certain Aspects of Divorce Can Still Move Forward in Spite of the Coronavirus
The pandemic has changed family law in a number of ways: For already-divorced parents, it has created significant confusion and questions surrounding child custody and parenting plans, particularly when there are concerns that the other parent could possibly expose the child to COVID-19. This has been especially pronounced for parents who work in healthcare, as well as out-of-state parents. And for those who were contemplating divorce, some have likely put off officially starting the process until the courts are open and fully functional again.
There are also a number of couples who had already signed marital agreements (binding contracts spelling out how their marital assets will be divided) before the pandemic started, but who now have to revisit those negotiations due to the dramatic changes in the value of some assets, such as stock holdings, retirement accounts, and closely-held businesses. Because March is a peak month for divorce filings, many ended up being stuck in the middle of the process when the world became aware of just how dangerous the pandemic had become and social distancing requirements went into effect. Some even ended up continuing to live under the same roof with their soon-to-be-ex-spouse for various reasons, either in order to continue co-parenting, or to wait until they were in a better financial position to move into a new residence, etc. Still, even if they were functional before, once the pandemic hit, many of them found that, with both of them suddenly working from home, and perhaps children no longer being in school, the house suddenly got very small
The Need to Revisit Marital Agreements Due to The Pandemic’s Impact On Finances
As a result, many have continued working with their family law attorneys to move things forward, even while the courts are closed. This is because, on top of all of the stress that comes with divorce – even without the pandemic – there are now a host of other concerns as well; many of them financial; for example, child support issues if one parent lost their job due to the pandemic. Waiting to address these issues until after the pandemic has passed and the courts have reopened is not necessarily a good idea given the amount of backlog that they are likely to experience.
How Family Law Can Proceed Even with the Pandemic
Some courts have had to continue holding emergency hearings for child custody issues – usually via teleconferencing – even though they are technically closed. Still, even with the closures, it is entirely possible for couples to reach their own agreements concerning division of assets and child custody arrangements – outside of the courts – with the assistance of their attorneys. Family law attorneys have the means to continue to work with clients in order to keep their cases moving forward, for example, by conducting mediations via the videoconferencing app “Zoom.”
If You Need Assistance, Contact Our Florida Family Law Attorney Today
During these times, when many things are uncertain, both economically and emotionally, our office is here to ensure that you have the very best possible chance of reaching the result that you desire. Contact West Palm Beach family attorney William Wallshein to schedule a free (COVID-19-safe) consultation.