In an instant, COVID-19 seems to have changed everything. It can be challenging to determine how best to proceed with important decisions in your life while also social distancing. The good news, relatively speaking, is that even though much of our world is shutdown, couples moving towards separation and divorce do not necessarily have to experience a delay in their proceedings. The key is for couples to set aside enough of their differences to agree on settling their divorce out of court.
Even with social distancing, most divorce attorneys are staying busy counseling their clients over phone and video conference. (Nolan/Buyers is scheduling voice and Zoom consultations.) Electronic filing is already the norm, which means cases can still be filed and final orders can still be entered making it possible for couples who are able to reach mutual agreement to proceed from start to finish without ever leaving home.
Judges are still working but have been ordered to limit in-person court appearances to specific emergency and constitutional rights-related matters. Contentious couples who are unable to come to agreement and need court intervention to reach conclusion will be stuck for now. Working with attorneys who are skilled in the language of compromise and can assist in efforts to negotiate and collaborate can mean the difference between moving your divorce (and new life) forward, or being stuck in legal limbo until the world can return to its new normal.
Not sure if you and your soon-to-ex can take the path of negotiation? Take this quick quiz to find out!
1. We haven’t been married long and don’t have much stuff to deal with.
2. We have children but agree on how we want to co-parent; we just don’t know what else we need to talk about.
3. We don’t have children and we already have an agreement on how to divide everything.
4. We have had some discussion and seem to agree about how to divide things, and we both want to move forward now.
5. Neither of us wants to go to court but we don’t know how to divorce; we have never done this before.
6. My spouse and I are willing to compromise in order to keep the divorce process moving; we just need help to narrow down the specifics and actually achieve compromise.
If any of these statements resonate for you, there is no reason to put off talking to a divorce lawyer. There has never been a better time to explore the processes and methods that are available to assist you and your spouse in achieving a negotiated resolution.