There’s no doubt about it; the recent pandemic has caused not only large amounts of economic damage for many homes but also emotional. Marriages that were already on the brink of ending before the pandemic are most likely at their tipping point as shelter in place orders have been issued. Many of those will likely begin their divorce procedures. However, with COVID-19 cases on the rise, many departments and even family law attorneys are not meeting with their clients as much as they would want to. So, here are six tips for going through a divorce during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Start the work Now. Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute
The reality of the situation is that because many courts are stopping non-essential hearings, and therefore you may not be able to see a judge for a very long time. This does not mean you must stop all talks with your wife/husband and their attorneys. Utilize virtual meeting applications that allow you to have a real-time conversation with attorneys from both sides. This will allow the process to go much faster after stay at home orders have been lifted, and the courts are able to hear your case.
Do Not Stay in an Abusive Relationship
Some men and women are unfortunately under the impression that they cannot leave their situation because of the pandemic. This is entirely false as many law enforcement departments, as well as the courts, are allowing special exceptions in the case of domestic violence. Contact your attorney and your local police department to remove yourself from this dangerous situation.
Do Not Violate Your Court Orders
Those who have gone through a part of the divorce process but had to pause due to the pandemic should not use this as an excuse not to follow through on their court orders. This is especially true when it comes to the joint-custody of any children involved. The courts will not look kindly on people who use the pandemic as an excuse to keep their children for an extended period of time. Only if there is evidence that the children are being placed in danger should you contact your attorney.
Remember to Take Care of Yourself
Going through a divorce is stressful enough, even during normal times. The process can be especially taxing on the body now that you have to be worried about not only the virus but the lack of movement of the divorce process. Therefore it is incredibly important to make sure that you are taking care of yourself. Spend time in your backyard getting sun, exercise, and eat right. All these activities will help you keep your mindset in a healthy state.
Communication is Key, Especially Now
If the relationship is not violent in nature, then it is highly recommended to communicate with not only your spouse but their attorney as well. This will allow you to form temporary measures in order to have things on a certain schedule during the pandemic. This could involve living situations, joint bank accounts, and other small details.
Create a Budget
Divorce can be quite lengthy and expensive, especially now with many people’s financial status up in the air. This is why it is so important to develop a budget for yourself. Understand that you are going to need two budgets in the event that your living situation becomes unbearable, and you need to remove yourself from the home. Your individual budget must include two things, a monthly expense budget, and an emergency fund. Your monthly expenses should include anything you need for work such as gas, home office supplies, and car payments if you are the sole owner. You should also include your half of the monthly living expenses, such as rent and utilities. The second includes the emergency fund, which will provide you with quick funds in the event that you need to leave the home and stay at a hotel for a few nights.