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Divorce & COVID-19: Adjusting to a New Normal

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Leading Your Family Through COVID-19 Transitions

Whether you’re looking into a divorce or your paperwork is already filed, navigating life during the pandemic and adjusting to new norms can be challenging. Our team at Sullivan Law & Associates is here to help make the transition easier for you and your family.

Statistics: Divorcing During the Pandemic

Studies have shown that the online search for divorces has increased by 30% since March 2020. Instead of being separated, couples are finding themselves at home together much more frequently.

These restrictions, paired with the emotional and financial stress a couple may feel, are enough to cause a shift in a relationship. Lawyers across California have experienced a rise in not just calls inquiring about starting the divorce process — but about filing immediately.

If the pandemic has affected your family’s dynamic, keep reading for more help.

Making the Decision to Divorce

Changes to our daily life due to the spread of COVID-19 have affected more than schedules — our relationships have also taken a hit. If you and your spouse are currently deciding to divorce, try not to pressure yourself to make it work just because of the ongoing health crisis.

Instead, consider talking to friends, family, or a mental health counselor if you need help. You should also book a consultation with a lawyer to discuss your case, and help you decide what to do next.

Read More: Divorce Advice for Couples Affected By the Pandemic

Collaborative Divorces On the Rise

In light of the pandemic, many couples may choose to undergo a collaborative divorce rather than drag their case out in court during a contested divorce hearing. Instead of court dates, you, your soon-to-be-ex, and your lawyers will meet multiple times to finalize the terms of your divorce.

Not only can this make your divorce case go quicker, but it’s also a great option for those who may be anxious about going into a courthouse amid COVID-19.

Virtual Divorce Proceedings

While the courts continue to pick up from the past year of closures and an influx of family law cases, you may experience a virtual appointment with your lawyer or a virtual hearing.

If you are doing anything remotely, you should follow these tips:

  • Prepare your technology in advance.
  • Use a computer or device with a larger screen rather than your mobile device.
  • Avoid using a virtual background.
  • Continue to dress professionally as if you would for an in-person hearing.

Support Payment Challenges

You are still responsible for making your support payments on time during the pandemic — including alimony and child support. If the pandemic causes you to lose your income unexpectedly, you should seek a modification to match your situation.

Co-Parenting Changes

As kids return to the classroom after a year of virtual learning, it’s important that you and your co-parent make the transition as stress-free as possible.

These tips can help you adjust to caring for your child’s needs during the pandemic.

Present a united front.

While the pandemic has presented unprecedented challenges for us, it has presented a whole new work of anxiety and fear for our children. Whether that’s due to a parent who may be on the frontlines of the pandemic, or because of changes with their school and social life, it’s important to communicate with your ex, so you can help your child cope.

Stay up to date on local health guidelines.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to shift, local health guidance may continue to change. This means it can be confusing for your little one to understand why they may have to wear a mask when some others are not.

You should also make sure that both you and your ex are employing safety procedures to prevent the risk of contracting COVID-19. This may include making sure your children wear their masks in crowded places, obey social distancing rules, avoid sharing snacks at school, and wash their hands often.

If you’re worried about your child’s safety when they’re not at home and believe you need an emergency custody order, you should speak to your lawyer before acting.

Manage your child’s new schedule.

With a new school year comes a new schedule, especially if your child is transitioning from virtual learning to the classroom. Set your schedule in advance to make drop-offs, pick-ups, and anything that comes in between easier on your child. You should also make sure that you are both able to help them with homework or any questions they may have.

Attend school meetings.

If you share custody of your child, it's important for both parents to be on the same page with your little one's academic performance.

Attend parent-teacher meetings together if possible, or switch off who attends. Remember to share the information with each other.

Abide by your custody order.

In the absence of extreme life circumstances such as loss of a job or relocation, your child custody order should be followed at all times. If COVID-19 has caused your financial situation or your schedule to change, you may need to look into a modification to alter the agreement for your child’s best interest.

Our Family Law Attorneys Are Here to Help

Dealing with changes within your family is difficult enough — but add a pandemic on top of it, and we know how challenging life can feel. Our team at Sullivan Law & Associates is here to help you navigate the legal system and how to proceed during this time of uncertainty and change.

If you’re in need of a consultation, contact our team today: (949) 565-2793.