There has been a lot of talk in recent months about the surge in divorce rates sparked by the Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting “lockdown” that occurred earlier this year. It is still too early to know definitively if divorce rates have climbed significantly, but there certainly seems to be a lot of anecdotal evidence to support that theory.
But the pandemic is noticeably changing other things about divorce, including the timeline, procedural inconveniences, custody disagreements and more. Some of these changes are described below.
Court processes may be getting more convenient
During the early part of pandemic (when states all had stay-at-home orders in place), courts were largely shut down and cases weren’t progressing. Since then, however, many courts have been able to transition to online appearances via video conferencing. While it can feel surreal to go through such an important legal process while starting at a laptop in your own living room, regular court appearances are much more efficient this way. It used to be that for a five-minute court appearance, you might need to go to the courthouse and wait an hour for a judge to get to you. Now, you can just join a Zoom call a couple minutes beforehand.
Certain parts of custody decisions are more complex
One aspect of divorce that may be harder right now is child custody decisions. The country is torn apart over disagreements on how to respond to the pandemic and the threat of spreading the virus. That rift occurs even within households. Parents may fundamentally disagree about how sheltered to keep their children, whether everyone should be wearing masks, whether it is safe to transport them between households and whether they should be attending school in person or online. When a vaccine becomes available, there will likely also be disagreements about whether children should be vaccinated.
In short, child custody decisions already tend to be difficult and contentious, and the pandemic is only adding to those troubles.
The right lawyer is important
If you are about to go through a divorce, one of the best investments you can make – pandemic or not – is to hire an experienced attorney who is a good fit for your personality. The right lawyer can greatly improve the efficiency of your case, simplify complex processes and ensure that your interests are heard and respected. To discover whether our firm is right for you, call us to arrange an initial consultation.