The coronavirus pandemic has impacted every aspect of our daily lives. And many people may be mystified about what to do when they are considering or in the middle of a pending divorce. Courts are adapting to the new circumstances; video and online conferencing is becoming extremely popular and people can still get divorced. Read on to learn more.
Researching Divorce Options
Let us have a look at some of the ways you can communicate with your soon to be former partner.
Pro Se / Self-Represented
This is where the parties agree everything among themselves and file all the needed paperwork individually. Usually this is only done in very simple situations such as marriages less than 5 years, marriages without children or marriages where no meaningful wealth was accumulated.
When divorcing and mediating, a third party agreed between the two principal parties leads communication to reach an agreement for settlement. A party may choose to retain the services of an attorney for advice and documentation review to serve both as a mediator and counsel. Mediation is far more peaceful and typically less expensive than conventional litigation for a divorce.
A team of trained professionals works for each individual spouse including two collaboratively trained attorneys, an independent financial advisor, communications coach, adult counselor, or child specialist/advocate (if required) meet as a unified team with the two parties to develop a settlement. It is agreed litigation will not take place even when a settlement cannot be obtained. Collaborative divorce can usually be completed within 120 days at 50% less cost compared to conventional court house litigation dissolutions.
Where two attorneys work and structure out a settlement on behalf of the parties and often try to dissuade the two parties from communication during the process of divorce.
Determining the best course of actions for you is key and you can look online and also go through reviews at state organizations specializing in mediation. Reach out to a few divorce lawyers, discuss the circumstances, and go from there.
Your Professional Team
Normally each spouse retains an attorney who has family law experience. Expense is always a factor. Similar to a primary care doctor, it is vital to feel comfortable with your divorce attorney. You may also retain a financial professional with a background in divorce who can help with financial calculations as well as a coach or counselor for psychological aspects of the process.
It is important to gather all of your financial details together. This would include tax returns, wage slips, investment and bank accounts, pensions, retirement plans, real estate, and business interests as well as debts like student loans, car loans, mortgages, credit card debt and such like. Much of this can be assembled online. However assessing the values of assets can be fraught with contention, so information may have to be updated or changed during the process of negotiation.
While you are mainly homeward bound, now is a good time to create a budget for your post-Decree life. This will assist in comprehending how much money you need to live on as well as assessing what will be the requirements for spousal support and support of a child or children as part and parcel of the agreement. It may well be your spending priorities have changed currently, e.g. spending less on eating out and gasoline but more on groceries and home utilities. This will have to be updated over the passage of time, so it is a good reflection of your needs and lifestyle options in seeking a fair settlement from your spouse.
Your budget may necessitate changes to your living arrangements. Real estate sales are still ongoing and oddly values are continuing to go up, but housing values may also lose value during the Coronavirus pandemic. So, having the latest real estate pricing information is key whether you are buying out your spouse, you are both selling the house, or you are looking to buy a new residence post-Decree.
Even amicable divorce can have issues coming to grips with a viable post-Decree parenting plan. Right now, that ay have to be arranged through video and phone meetings and where children are involved, privacy may be an issue. With everyone residing under one roof, finding time that is not disturbed with your kids can be a challenge.
The two spouses will have to decide whether to go ahead with divorce proceedings during the current pandemic. Even video conferencing may not always be possible as more and more people are having to stay at home. Once in person meetings are permissible, you will have the option of a video conference, or everyone masked up, meeting in person. Some video conferences allow break-out rooms, permitting private conversations.
The Coronavirus may be part of our lives for some time to come. If you go ahead with a divorce, you will have to be patient as some things will have to be handled differently that in the past. But with the right support, you can move forward with your life. Most cases can still be resolved in 6 to 12 months.
Source: Tighe, Janet, and Susan Miller. “7 Tips to Smoothly End Your Marriage in the Age of Coronavirus, Where Divorce Is Harder than Ever.” MarketWatch, MarketWatch, 29 May 2020, www.marketwatch.com/story/divorce-during-the-pandemic-is-harder-than-it-already-is-heres-what-you-need-to-know-2020-05-27.
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