COVID-19 & Divorce: Rising Divorce Rates and Media Coverage

COVID-19 & Divorce: Rising Divorce Rates and Media Coverage

As the COVID-19 pandemic has continued, courts across the country have been forced to close because of quarantine and stay-at-home orders. That has left many guys in a state of flux who are in the middle of a divorce or child custody case and are not sure how to move forward.

In Cordell & Cordell’s April 23 webinar in the firm’s series
on divorce during COVID-19, divorce attorneys discussed this topic, how
technology is being utilized by divorce courts, how mediation might be a viable
option during this time, and more.

As the Cordell & Cordell divorce lawyers explained, your
case does not need to pause completely during the pandemic.

Utilizing technology
in divorce during COVID-19

With stay-at-home orders being implemented across the United
States, family courts have turned to technology to keep some cases moving

“In Illinois, we’re seeing a gradual progression to digitizing the court system and making the courtrooms available to people who can’t access the physical courtrooms,” said Cordell & Cordell Illinois Litigation Attorney Leander Gorski. “It has been a very slow process, but we’ve been starting to see more and more counties across the state open up for Zoom hearings, telephonic hearings, pretrial conferences, and things like that.”

Cordell & Cordell’s divorce lawyers also suggested some
guys might find it helpful to try mediation during this time.

Divorce mediation

When it comes to
mediation, it really is an alternative for guys that are, right now, in the
middle of a divorce,” said Cordell & Cordell CEO, Executive/Managing
Partner Scott Trout.
“They can’t get to court, unless it’s an emergency, so many of them think
‘There’s nothing I can do.’ But what we can do is some informal mediation.”

Divorce mediation can save you thousands of dollars and it
can help simplify important aspects of your divorce regarding the division of
assets, parenting plans, child support, and spousal support.

“We highly recommend to all of our clients and anyone going
through a divorce, try to resolve things amicably outside the courtroom, even
when there’s not a pandemic,” Gorski said. “Now with the courtrooms being
closed, now’s a great opportunity to do those things.

“You don’t need to get into a shared conference room to make
that happen. There’s a lot of technology that’s available to everyone to make
that happen.”

Be prepared

Even if you forgo mediation, there are still important steps
you can take to ensure that your case moves forward more quickly. That does
involve some work on your end, though.

“Things we’re looking for when we start a divorce case are
financial records of the family, the assets, debts, and spending, so those
looking to file can take this time to gather that information for us,” said
Cordell & Cordell Litigation Partner Bridget Landry.

Do your homework

If you are facing a separation from your child as a result
of the pandemic, learn what your state’s laws are regarding child custody
during quarantine and shelter-in-place orders. Most states are classifying
travel for custody exchanges as essential.

“What is important for fathers to know about North
Carolina’s stay-at-home order, is that it specifically permits travel related
to custodial exchange,” said Cordell & Cordell North Carolina Senior Lead
Litigator Kara Goodman.
“So if the mother of your children is telling you, ‘We’re ordered to stay at
home. We can’t travel, so you don’t get to see the kids this weekend,’ that
certainly is not the case.”

“I would encourage all fathers to take a look at your
state’s stay-at-home, to make sure that you understand what is permitted and
what is not.”

Cordell & Cordell is continuing to produce daily content addressing the most frequently asked questions about divorce during COVID-19. For more information, visit the Cordell & Cordell Divorce and COVID-19 Information Hub.

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