How to Keep Your Divorce Moving Forward During the Pandemic

If you wanted to file for divorce this year, you may have hit an untimely roadblock: coronavirus. Unfortunately, the pandemic forced the entire society to shut down, courts included. This is undoubtedly a frustrating event for those wanting to have their divorces finalized quickly. However, you may not be quite as stuck as you initially believe.

Very little of the divorce process is done in court. Aside from getting your divorce papers filed and receiving your final decree from the judge, you can do almost all of the preparation and paperwork from the comfort of your home. If you’re eager to keep your divorce moving forward during the pandemic, here are five things you can do now to make that happen.

Connect with an experienced lawyer. This far into the pandemic, businesses are learning to adapt to the times, including lawyers. Use the downtime to find a good family law lawyer to guide you through the divorce process and help you with the paperwork. While you may not meet face-to-face, phone calls and video meetings can be equally effective and convenient for both parties.

Get your financial paperwork together. To file for divorce, you will have to fill out many forms defining your situation, including financial status, whether children are involved, and needs for child and spousal support. This intensive financial review, including assets, debts, and income (shared and individual), has to accompany your other divorce papers, and you need to ensure that it is entirely accurate to avoid delays.

This process can take quite some time to complete, so do yourself a favor and get all of your paperwork in order before you start. Additionally, having your finances organized will give you a better idea of what to expect after the divorce.

Determine your divorce terms. The divorce process involves a lot of big decision making. Use any extra time during the pandemic to truly consider what you want and need from the divorce without feeling pressured. You’ll need to decide how you want to split assets and debts, who will be your children’s primary caretaker, and whether child and spousal support are necessary.

Additionally, write down any concerns or requests you have about your post-divorce parenting plan. If you can figure out what you want now, it’ll save time and stress during the negotiations.

Start virtual negotiations. As face-to-face divorce meetings have a reputation for getting heated, you may welcome the idea of virtual negotiations. Schedule an online conference with your spouse and your lawyers to discuss the terms you’ve both written down. If this does not go well, consider meeting with a virtual mediator instead.

Mediation is a common step to help both parties find a suitable arrangement. Thankfully, it can easily be done in a social-distance situation, too. The mediator will go back and forth between you and your spouse to find a suitable arrangement for both of you. This is not binding, but it will lay the groundwork for you to move forward with the official paperwork.

Submit your paperwork. As soon as you can, settle and sign your divorce negotiations so that you can send them into court. While some states do not require you to appear in court for your final divorce decree, many do. For these states, the judges will undoubtedly be busy with divorce hearings for quite some time after the courts reopen. It’s reasonable to assume that hearings will be scheduled in the order that paperwork is received, so submit yours soon to avoid a lengthy wait for your final decree.

If you’re ready to move your divorce forward, be sure to reach out to our office at Duncan Family Law. Our experienced team specializes in divorce cases for California and Colorado. We are glad to help you through the process. Call us today at (855) 369-9993 and we’ll schedule a phone call or virtual meeting to get you started.