Guidance for Couples Considering Divorce During COVID-19
As California continues to be affected by the coronavirus pandemic, many couples who have been forced to take shelter at home may be questioning the relationship they have with their spouse. The pandemic has caused a surge in divorce rates across the United States, with experts fearing an even more significant increase if we experience a second wave of COVID-19.
The decision to divorce is one of the most emotionally-taxing choices a couple can make.
Not only can it be stressful, but divorce can also be difficult to navigate alone. During this challenging time, our family attorneys at Sullivan Law & Associates are here to help.
Navigating The Decision to Divorce
If you're considering divorce, here are some things to keep in mind.
The Importance of Talking to Your Spouse
The first step in deciding to divorce is to always talk through your feelings with your spouse when possible. Though there are many reasons why a married couple may divorce if it feels as though your marriage simply isn't working, you can sit down and talk through your thoughts with your spouse.
Though you may not be seeing eye-to-eye, there may be a chance that your spouse can relate to how you're feeling regarding a divorce. If you've discussed divorce previously, you may choose to talk about the expectations you'll have of each other once your divorce is finalized regarding child support, child custody, and asset division. This can help settle your case and avoid a legal battle in court.
Keeping Your Children in Mind
No matter how difficult your divorce is, chances are that it will be even more difficult for them if you have children. If you and your spouse have children together, you'll want to begin thinking about who will care for the child once your divorce is finalized. In light of COVID-19, it's essential now more than ever to consider what your child custody and visitation agreements will look like. Be sure to consider if you or your spouse will be relocating during this time as well.
In addition to this conversation, you should consider sitting your children down and explaining to them what is going on. This can prevent them from feeling scared or upset.
Asset Division in California
California is an equitable distribution state, which means that property, debt, and assets will be fairly distributed amongst divorcing spouses. It's important to consider that the court will decide what community property is and what is individual or separate property during divorce proceedings. These are defined as:
Separate property includes anything that one partner purchased or obtained before the marriage. This also includes inheritances that were paid out during the marriage.
Community property is any asset or property that a couple owns or obtains together, including:
- Family homes and other real estate
Valuable items such as artwork or antiques will need to be evaluated before you and your partner divorce, and if you don't see eye-to-eye on their value, an appraiser must be used. When discussing property and assets division, it is essential to speak with your lawyer to ensure that you know your rights.
Documents Needed for Asset Division
Keep in mind that you'll need to provide various relevant financial and legal documents to move forward during your divorce proceeding. As you begin to think about how your assets would be divided if you choose to divorce, you should consider locating the following documents for both partners:
- Income statements
- Mortgage statements
- Tax returns
- Retirement documents
- Appraisals for any property your jointly own
- Necessary business documents (when applicable)
- Insurance paperwork
Choose Reliable, Sound Legal Advice
If you and your spouse decide to proceed with a divorce, you should consult with an experienced divorce attorney to help guide you in the best direction. A family law attorney can help communicate between you and your significant other and inform you what documents you'll need, help sort out child custody, child support, and alimony payments, as well any complications that arise.
Seasoned Divorce Attorneys in Irvine
The COVID-19 crisis has undoubtedly caused turmoil for many couples in California. At Sullivan Law & Associates, we are always available for a consultation if you and your spouse believe that divorce is the best option. Our skilled family law attorneys will represent you in your divorce, advocating for the resolution that protects your best interests.
Contact our team today to set up a consultation: (949) 565-2793