Couples often discuss several issues to reach a settlement during a divorce process. These issues include support (alimony and child support), distribution of property, parenting arrangements, custody, and health insurance.
With the current 2019 Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, settling, let alone discussing, these issues have become more difficult due to stay-at-home orders and the limited operational capacity of legal practices. Our divorce law firm in Crawfordsville, IN recommends preparing for the following situations:
- No Physical Courtroom or Mediation Meetings
Courtrooms are still closed. Those open are restricting entry to specific parties only. Virtual courts are an option for cases that allow videoconferencing, meaning you can appear in court without leaving your house. Apart from these situations, you may not see a courtroom for a few months or years.
You can still meet with your lawyer via videoconferencing so they can set up a virtual meeting with your soon-to-be-ex-partner. If you can negotiate a settlement virtually, that will be beneficial for all parties. If not, and your case requires face-to-face interaction, you’ll have to wait for a while.
- Struggles with Maintenance and Child Support
Although states have certain guidelines related to child and spousal support, parties often agree on special arrangements to make sure they meet their family’s needs. But during the COVID-19 outbreak, employment declined because of interruptions in business operations. Many companies resorted to full work-at-home setups. Some individuals relied on government-funded stimulus packages or unemployment loans to maintain their business or job.
The temporary loss of a job has a long-term effect on an individual’s finances. As both parties negotiate support schedules and payments, unemployment must be taken into account when creating an agreement.
- Parenting Time
For couples with kids, agreeing on parenting schedules are more challenging during the pandemic due to mobility restrictions. Children are discouraged from going outside or traveling to protect them from the disease.
Also, the occupation of the parent affects the frequency of seeing their child. For example, doctors and other medical professionals now work extended hours to combat COVID-19. Their prolonged shifts impact their time with the kids, which can lead to parents seeking alternative parenting arrangements or childcare.
Additionally, since the kids now attend school virtually while their parents work online as well, both parents must decide who is better equipped to spend time with the children during the day.
- Health Insurance and Life Insurance
Depending on the parents’ ages and financial factors, insurance payouts and coverage are also affected by the pandemic. In most agreements, life and health insurance ensure all families have enough resources in case of hospitalization or death in the family. Depending on the insurance coverage a family has, these types of provisions require careful analysis.
Continuation of coverage is essential in the analysis made for each family. Out-of-pocket costs for check-ups, therapy, and other medical services must be reviewed as part of the divorce process.
The COVID-19 pandemic might pause a few aspects of your separation, but it need not stop your divorce proceedings altogether. Speak with one of our lawyers today to learn more about your options.