Can I Still Get a Divorce During Quarantine?
Divorce, which is a process that tends to be complicated by emotional stress, financial uncertainty, and living arrangements at the best of times, has become even more problematic as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is, however, still possible to obtain a divorce, especially for those who retain an experienced Fort Lauderdale divorce lawyer, who has the experience and flexibility to adapt to these challenging times.
How Has COVID-19 Affected Divorce?
Most courthouses across the state have been closed for the last couple of months due to mandatory stay at home orders and social distancing guidelines. However, as the apex of the COVID-19 epidemic has seemingly passed, we can expect more and more courts to begin opening their doors and eventually returning to the regular judicial process. Currently, many individuals will find that all pending divorce matters are being heard at each judge’s discretion and priority will be granted on a case to case basis. For instance, one judge may still be following all pre-pandemic court procedures, while another could be postponing all but urgent matters. It’s also important to note that many judges are still holding hearings remotely via phone or video conference. Similarly, attorneys are also often able to file motions and petitions online, although the process may be subject to more delays than usual.
Is Alternative Dispute Resolution Still an Option for Me?
During this period of time, when most courthouses are closed, it may be more efficient and productive for divorcing couples to consider alternative dispute resolution methods, which enable those involved to avoid the courtroom entirely. These types of proceedings revolve around negotiation amongst a small group of people and so fortunately, can often be handled online.
This includes mediation, through which a qualified counselor works with both parties to help them reach a compromise, as well as collaborative law, in which each spouse brings his or her own lawyer, both of whom work together to identify equitable terms of agreement. When practiced properly, these options can lead to a less adversarial and more amicable resolution to a divorce, while also allowing the parties to implement social distancing practices. It is also true, however, that alternative dispute resolution proceedings, like court events, could be backlogged and delayed for the foreseeable future.
How Your Finances Could be Affected by the Health Crisis
COVID-19 is having a significant effect on the global economy, which has made the process of dividing assets during divorce a much more complicated endeavor. Because income, investments, and retirement benefits have also undoubtedly been affected by the pandemic, divorcing couples will need the assistance of legal professionals more than ever, especially if they are also accumulating a significant amount of debt due to job loss or sustained unemployment. It is also a difficult time to sell real estate, so divorcing parties may be forced to rethink their living situations. Although these factors may make it harder to obtain a divorce during quarantine, it is still possible to do so with the guidance of an experienced attorney.
Schedule an Initial Consultation
We understand how much stress the pandemic can add to the already difficult process of divorce. Please call Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. at 954-945-7591 today to learn more about how an experienced Fort Lauderdale divorce lawyer can help you with your divorce-related questions and concerns.