We wanted to give our perspective on the coronavirus, both the health and economic fallout, through the lens of your divorce. As we continue to self-quarantine, read headlines that cause fear, and watch economies fall into recession, it’s important to keep a perspective about what is truly important, especially as it relates to your long term health and financial well-being.
Coronavirus is likely to impact your divorce.
Here are a few ideas of things to keep in mind:
Talk to your ex now. If you haven’t had a conversation with your ex yet about how your co-parenting agreement will change in the wake of coronavirus, call them now. Who will take care of the kids if one of you gets sick? If the kids get sick? What will extended school closures mean for your visitation schedule? Everything will default to your current parenting plan if you don’t talk now to make updates. If you have a contentious relationship with your ex, it’s a good idea to get help from a legal coach or attorney.
Some courts have temporarily closed. More closures are likely to come.
Check your local court (or ask us!) to find out if your court hearing has been continued or if you can appear by telephone. If you’re scheduled to appear in court, you can confirm courts are open in any state at this link. Make sure your correct address is on file with the court as more closures are likely to take place, in case your hearing is rescheduled. To avoid uncertainty of court closures, you and your ex can also consider working with a private judge or working with a mediator instead, which will keep your divorce out of the courts altogether.
If your job or business is at risk, you can make adjustments to child and spousal support. Your best course of action is to talk to your ex directly and explain the situation. If you and your ex can agree to support modifications on your own, you can keep things out of court by filing those modifications in writing. (Our partners can help). If you can’t agree, we cover alternate options on our blog.
This is actually not the time to delay moving forward.
We’re in uncharted territory, but contrary to what you might think - this is not the time to delay divorce. If you and your ex have separated but have not yet started the divorce process, there are real implications to consider. Until you’re divorced, your ex’s debt is your debt; spousal and child support payments are less likely to result in the level you want to request or pay out, and you could be held liable if anything bad happens with a property or vehicle you still own jointly.
Asset values continue to move very quickly and you need to be aware of what your strategy will be for dissolution.
Erin Levine and Mark Flowers will be doing a live webinar via Zoom on March 26th at 2pm to provide answers to your questions around this issue.