How to Navigate Divorce Amid a Pandemic

Divorce in a Time of COVID-19: How to Manage Your Separation

For the past few months, stories about the novel coronavirus pandemic have dominated various media channels. The most prevalent type of news is about the rapidly increasing rate of positive cases in the U.S. and across the world. Apart from COVID-19 cases, though, there is another thing that has been rapidly increasing in number since the pandemic started: divorce.

Why Divorce Rates Are Rising Amid the Pandemic

The pandemic has affected almost every aspect of people’s lives—students have been attending classes over Zoom, employed individuals have had to work from home, and wearing a mask is mandatory in most states.

But it’s the effects of the stay-at-home orders that have affected a lot of people the most, especially couples. These orders have forced married couples to spend more time together than they’re used to. As a result, many are realizing that they’re no longer compatible with their spouses. For some couples, being isolated for months highlighted issues that have already been present but were swept under the rug. Worse, the isolation has made tempers flare up, leading to more domestic violence cases.

All of these situations are leading to couples filing for divorce. And as difficult the decision to end a marriage may be, it’s even more challenging during a pandemic. Courthouses have been closed or are functioning with a skeletal staff, and law offices have been operating remotely. However, these shouldn’t stop you from filing for divorce if you’re sure of your decisions.

As long-time Family Law experts, we can advise on how to file for and handle divorce amid a pandemic. We answered some of the most common questions people have about this below. 

Should I file for a divorce?

Before moving forward with your decision, think about it thoroughly. Do you want to divorce your spouse because of serious and legitimate grievances, or is it because you’ve only now noticed that they chew too loud? If you can, make sure to talk to your spouse about your issues. It’s also a good idea to speak to a trusted loved one about your decision.

On the other hand, if your reason for wanting a divorce is valid or an emergency, then you cannot let the pandemic stop you. Plenty of divorce lawyers are willing to take on cases amid the pandemic. 

How do I file for a divorce?

Filing for divorce during the pandemic is entirely possible. First, you need to contact a divorce attorney who can help you navigate the process and your options. Then, prepare all the documents you need to support your claim. After that, constant communication with your lawyer is essential, so you’re well-informed about how the process is coming along.

How long before my divorce is finalized?

In Colorado, it takes 30 to 90 days after filing the paperwork for an uncontested divorce to be final. On the other hand, a contested divorce can take at least six months up to a year. However, you should expect these timelines to be slightly longer because state courts are likely backlogged due to the pandemic.

Will I need to go to court?

Depending on the complexity of your case, a divorce hearing may or may not be required. Many courts are conducting these hearings through video conferences, so you won’t have to go out and physically attend them.

Should I move out of our house during the divorce process?

Some states, like Illinois and North Carolina, require couples to have lived separate and apart for a specific time before filing for divorce. In Colorado, though, state courts allow couples to file for divorce even if they’re still living together. This is especially handy amid a pandemic when you or your spouse’s financial situation isn’t at its best. However, suppose there is a history of domestic abuse against you or your children. In that case, it’s best to find safer accommodations or petition the court to have your spouse removed from your marital house.

What happens to our children?

The court’s interests lie in keeping children safe and having them experience as little disruption to their lives as possible. This is why custody agreements before the pandemic are still upheld right now. However, the court may allow exceptions because of long-distance or special medical requirements.

Divorce is never easy, but it’s especially challenging amid a pandemic. Entrust this process to an experienced divorce attorney from Miller & Steiert, P.C. We provide a full range of family law services, from divorce to child custody and support.

Call 303-798-2525 to get in touch with one of our lawyers.

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