Handling Divorce Issues During Covid-19 Outbreak
If you are contemplating filing for divorce during these Covid-19 pandemic times, the question could be how to go about it.
Do you have any options?
How is this corona virus pandemic affecting divorce lawyers in Maryland?
Let us have a reality check first.
Most courts are closed and open only for emergency hearings. Courts are conducting limited hearings via telecom.
In the best interests of the children, custody conflicts are given higher priority over property conflicts.
When the courts do reopen schedules can be lined up for weeks or even months.
So should you finalize your divorce now or when the dust settles down?
If you have the inclination to wait, there are ways to protect your property.
Take stock of all your assets and debts so you know what you are dealing with.
Identify all sources of income. Managing and monitoring is vital.
Which partner will be managing the assets and who will be responsible for paying the debts?
Put in place a system so that the other partner is kept updated on any changes regarding assets. Ideally, it makes sense not to take any major decisions affecting value unless both partners agree.
Any agreement you make about the exchange of information and the provisional management of assets and liabilities should be in black and white to avoid misunderstandings.
If you apprehend that your spouse will be careless with regard to finances you can contact an attorney from the law firms in Maryland and speak with him or her about filing for a temporary restraining order.
You can also consider mediation or collaborative divorce.
Heading straight to divorce court can be an extended affair, which could be both stressful and expensive.
There are several things that need to be resolved, like custody and parenting time, alimony, and dividing the marital property.
All these things need to be compulsorily resolved before the divorce process is complete.
The divorce mediation process is an alternative to going to court.
It is also called Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR).
Here you can attempt to resolve your issues outside of court via a qualified family law mediator.
This person interacts with each partner over a period of time and helps in reaching mutually acceptable agreements on vital issues.
Once all issues are resolved, the mediator will prepare a Marital Settlement Agreement which will list all terms agreed upon by both parties.
Typically an attorney of each of the spouses reviews the agreement before it is signed.
You will still need to go to a court to officially terminate the marriage.
The court will go through the Marital Settlement Agreement, and, if approved, will be an integral component of the divorce judgment.
Do social distancing rules affect custody arrangements?
Divorce lawyers in Maryland are of the opinion that shelter-in-place and social distancing rules do not impact custody orders.
You must continue to abide by the custody order unless you and your ex-spouse agree to an alternate plan.
Courts have made it clear that denying visitation is tantamount to contempt of court.
You can of course make temporary changes during these Covid-19 times if:
• Your ex is exposed with someone with Covid-19.
• Your child is facing high risk of Covid-19.
• You think your ex has a high risk job.
If you believe that sending your child to ex’s home involves risks, get legal advice for a temporary change of custody.