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Divorce During COVID-19

Divorce may sound straightforward, but it’s not easy for a couple to decide to end their marriage. Sometimes, privately dealing with the issues in the married couple’s relationship helps in sorting out matters.  Admittedly, this may even aid in fixing the marriage.Unfortunately, most of the time, the problem within the marriage still persists and the peace within the household may be lost and ultimately personal relationships become irreparable.

Although filing for divorce may be easy, most often than not, married couples overlook the fact that there are some technical requirements that need to be met and options to be had for a peaceful and amicable divorce.

Dealing with a divorce is already a tough situation for any family. For those experiencing one right now, it gets extra challenging due to the ongoing pandemic. As always, our team of family lawyers at Gelman & Associates are here to help. 

Divorce During COVID-19

With restrictions and closures of public areas resulting from the pandemic, there are particular factors to consider if you want to file for divorce during COVID

It is worth noting that most Courts continue to work remotely due to Covid-19 concerns.

The good news is that even with the remote operations of the Court, the legal process can still continue, albeit with stricter requirements for proceedings that require oral arguments in courtrooms.

It must also be noted that lawyers and their clients are now using the safety and practicality of remote operations when applicable.  Lawyers and clients are now executing documents electronically, that were always signed by hand previously, which has actually streamlined many processes.

As for mediators and lawyers, you’ll be glad to know that many of them still offer their services via video conferencing and teleconferences. This means that mediations and legal consultations are still accessible.

So, Should You Pursue the Divorce?

Often, the answer to this depends on your situation. Hopefully, this article will provide you with the information you need, as well as the best course of action to fit your family and financial situation. 

Health Considerations When Filing for Divorce During COVID-19

Having a strong immune system is absolutely necessary in combating COVID-19. But dealing with a stressful situation such as a divorce may significantly affect your overall health.

It is always wise to assess your situation and keep things as civil as possible between you and your spouse, not only for the sake of your family but also for your physical and mental health.

While it’s true that going through a divorce can be emotionally taxing, making an effort to reduce stress factors can make a difference in protecting yourself and your family from COVID-19.

Divorce Terminologies You Should Know
Mediation Divorce mediation is the process that allows separating couples to visit a specially-trained, neutral third-party to discuss and address common divorce-related problems. It’s less stressful and cheaper than going to Court. It’s also quicker. Because couples have the final say over their divorce process and terms of settlement, mediation also allows them to maintain control and power in their separation, unlike asking a judge to decide. It’ll enable couples to build their communication skills, even when a lack of one was the cause for their divorce. With the help of a professional, even the most communication-challenged couples can succeed in mediation. However, you should note that mediators are not lawyers who represent the spouses. Each party should still hire their own lawyer to provide them with independent legal advice.
No-Fault Divorce For no-fault divorce cases in Canada, the one filing for divorce (applicant spouse) is not required to prove that the other spouse (respondent spouse) has committed acts that constitute a reason for the divorce. The requirement for no-fault divorce is that the couple have lived separately for at least one year. If the couple wants to reconcile, they can live together for up to 90 days before or after the application for divorce. If no reconciliation happens, they can proceed with the application.
Uncontested In uncontested divorce cases, both parties create a written separation agreement (recommended) outlining the terms of settlement such as decision making responsibility (formerly referred to as custody), child support, spousal support, and others.  After the formal separation agreement is signed, one of the spouses may then proceed to obtain an uncontested divorce seeking a divorce order from the Court terminating the marriage. Note must be taken that even if the respondent spouse will not contest the divorce, the respondent spouse must still accept service of the Divorce Application.

 

Financial Considerations for Divorce During the Pandemic

Financial Considerations for Divorce During the Pandemic

Due to the pandemic, people have to adapt to many changes, including when filing for a legal separation or divorce.

  • Loss of Wealth as a Result of Coronavirus

      • Daily reports state that the pandemic has affected the stock market. You may be one of those who have experienced a considerable drop in the value of your assets, whether they’re market-based mutual funds or stocks. It’s only natural to question if you should put your COVID divorce on hold until the market returns to its stable condition. But as your assets are more likely to be divided equally, the crash will not be a reason for postponing your divorce. You’ll still have half of the stocks each, and when the market stabilizes, your stocks will increase in value.
  • Cost of Divorce

      • Depending on the complexity of the legal issues, number of Court appearances, and other factors, the cost of getting a Divorce is relative. Court fee is also dependent on the approach that may be taken by the married couple. The divorce process may be through mediation, no-fault divorce, uncontested or contested divorce, etc. With the pandemic forcing people to reevaluate their lives, it may also inspire you to reconsider your approach to your divorce and take a more collaborative approach.
  • Child Support

      • Loss of income by you or your spouse due to the pandemic will affect the amount of child support you’ll be paying. Your contribution should meet how much you can afford during these trying times.
  • Spousal Support

    • If one or both partners lose income due to the pandemic, you have to adjust and renegotiate the levels of spousal support to reflect the change of circumstances.

 

Pro Tip

“Before getting a divorce, you should at least try to change your spouse’s mind and fix the situation.”

pro-tip-icon

Taking a more synergistic approach to your divorce will help reduce stress levels as you and your partner work together to reach an agreement. In short, a mediated divorce can be the best way to separate for couples who can foresee economic challenges down the road due to the pandemic.

FAQs About Divorce During COVID-19

FAQs About Divorce During COVID-19

You can use this motion if you need to change your order. By filing this motion, you’re asking the court to change something in your final order. It would help if you showed that there has been a substantial change in circumstances since the last court order. You can’t file this motion just because you disagree with the order. You shouldn’t also file this motion too soon after the court releases the final order. If things have changed in your children’s lives, you can ask to modify the order based on those changes. Other samples you can change may include but not be limited to:

  • Spousal support
  • Decision-making issues for the children
  • Issues related to parenting time
  • Child support

Per the new March 2021 changes in the Divorce Act, the term “decision-making responsibility” has replaced the previous term “custody” that was commonly used in divorce and family law cases. It refers to the right and responsibilities of a parent to make decisions for the children that are in their best interests.

Your separation agreement is a legally binding document made between parties in a marital relationship. It’s something that couples use to formally divide their debts, assets, and other marital responsibilities so that each side experiences a fair separation from the other. While a separation agreement is used when couples know they’re heading for a divorce, couples who want to separate for a while with the aim to reconcile can also use this. It may also include the division of assets and property, alimony, parenting time, and child support.

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