Divorce in the COVID-19 Era

There’s no doubt that the global pandemic has made every aspect of life significantly more complicated, and divorce has been no exception. For some the problem is trying to finalize agreements: with courts shut down or running on emergency-only schedules, getting court sign off on finalized papers is dragging things out. For others there is the fraught question of child custody: if children are out of school and are supposed to be kept away from exposure to outsiders, how do you navigate going back and forth between two households? And what if one parent views the stay-at-home order or social distancing with a completely different level of concern than the other? The pandemic has introduced a need for a far greater level of collaboration and cooperation, and while that has happened in some cases, in others it is more than some divorcing and divorced couples are able to muster.

In the best circumstances, couples with children who have separated or divorced have elected to put their differences aside and nest together during the stay-at-home order in order to keep everybody safe and in one place while providing equal access (and responsibility) for everybody. Other couples have chosen one household for the children to stay in to minimize potential exposure to the virus, while still others have agreed to continue their custody schedule. It is in this last – and most common – scenario that there is the greatest potential for strife, as both parties may not agree on how stringently the stay-at-home orders should be observed, whether they can trust the other parent to keep the child safe from exposure, or on how much information the children should be given about what is happening in the world.

With the courts shut down, all of the issues that would normally be adjudicated there are being left to the divorced/divorcing couples themselves or to their attorneys, and with many people out of work, the legal costs and the expense of child and spousal support are weighing heavily too. Many are simply trying to do the best that they can, with the hope that the crisis will pass quickly, and things will get to normal soon.

If you are struggling with your divorce or need advice on how to navigate a separation or custody issues during the global pandemic, we can help. Contact us today to set up a time to talk.