Divorce Tips During The Pandemic
Texas family lawyers may have thought they’d seen it all throughout the years, but the onset of the worldwide pandemic has compelled both divorce lawyers and their clients to adjust in unprecedented ways. As if getting divorced isn’t stressful enough, trying to do so during a pandemic may seem overwhelming.
Attorneys across the country are seeing an uptick in divorce filings as stay-at-home orders bring relationship issues to light. Below we discuss our top divorce tips for both attorneys and clients considering divorce or already involved in the divorce process during the coronavirus pandemic.
Top Divorce Tips
- Follow Court Orders. Do not use COVID-19 as a method to gain footing in your divorce. This particularly impacts parents with custody agreements. Parents must review and abide by existing court orders. Likewise, shelter-in-place and stay-at-home orders do not make custody exchanges no longer obligatory.
- Follow Stay-at-Home Orders. Most states have stay-at-home orders, which means that you really can’t visit an attorney or go to court hearings. Many law firms, however, are offering virtual or phone meetings instead. Keep in mind that court proceedings may take longer during this time as courts are also adapting to the new reality.
- Co-Parent Better Than Ever. Parenting is challenging enough when both parents live in the same home. When they live apart, as after a separation or divorce, things can get even harder. Now is the time for parents to set aside past animosity and cooperate in the best interests of their children. Parents should provide notice to each other of health-related changes impacting a child during their parenting time.
- Pay Child Support. Follow court orders regarding support payments unless and until you can modify them due to a true change in financial circumstances. Losing a job or earning less income does NOT mean child support obligations automatically change or go away. While you may be eligible for payment modification, your case must be reviewed by the Office of the Attorney General before such changes go into effect.
- Use This Time To Mediate. This situation may give parties some additional time to resolve their differences through negotiation rather than litigation, as alternate dispute resolution can still occur despite court closures. Many mediators and arbitrators are adjusting their usual way of proceeding to keep matters moving by way of remote communication. Even some court proceedings are still being conducted by way of remote technology.
- Plan Summer Travel Safely. Just recently in April, parents had the opportunity and deadline to give notice of summer possession and travel plans. During COVID-19, however, it has been difficult to make concrete plans, not knowing what the future has in store. Make sure whatever travel plans you make are in compliance with your custody agreement.
- Watch Out For Financial Pitfalls. Divorcing couples dividing marital assets and liabilities now have additional complications thanks to the economic downtown. Assets such as retirement accounts and investments may be valued lower due to recent stock market volatility as a result of COVID-19 concerns. Family owned businesses may be over or undervalued, as well. Furthermore, one or both spouses may lose their job during the course of divorcing. If you are currently involved in a divorce, an experienced family lawyer can help you navigate the changing financial landscape.
- Living Arrangements. Consider how your living arrangements may change and begin researching your options if moving is necessary. Virtual tours may be the only option for some housing solutions due to the pandemic. Real estate may also lose value during this time, which can affect your ability to sell a home.
Austin, Texas Divorce Lawyer
Divorce can be devastating no matter when it happens; however, in these unprecedented times, ending a marriage is more challenging than ever. Following our divorce tips and taking the time to speak with an experienced Texas divorce lawyer will hopefully help you navigate the process moving forward. For more information on how we can help, contact us today.