Coronavirus or COVID-19 has interrupted people’s lives in so many ways. Apart from the obvious impact the outbreak has had on our economy, experts speculate that it may contribute to increased divorce rates and relationship issues. As couples are stuck together at home and being forced to interact and engage with each other 24/7, instead of rushing out to their daily routines and ignoring their issues, the overall stress levels have increased, forcing them to take a hard look at their partners. This is not to say that couples experiencing divorce during the pandemic did not have any issues prior. In fact, many of them likely already knew they had issues, and their problems only escalated during the lockdown.
If you are on the verge of a separation or divorce, we’ll share some tips and advice on how to handle the process during these uncertain times.
Avoid separating from your spouse
Unless you are exposed to some form of physical harm or violence in your current situation, do not leave. Staying home is one of the safest ways to avoid the spread of Coronavirus. If you choose to leave and stay in a shelter or hotel with your children, you are exposing yourself and your loved ones to the virus. This could make an already difficult situation worse. Additionally, as many hotels close to minimize the spread of the virus, it may be difficult to find a hotel room for yourself and your family.
Expect the case to take longer than usual
Divorce and separation cases may take longer to resolve than usual. To start with, most lawyers are closing their firms and operating from home. Additionally, courthouses may be closed and are not allowing any hearings to take place. When open, the courthouses are likely to be required to follow the social-distancing model, which complicates things even further.
Avoid dividing assets during the COVID-19 pandemic
For those who have already separated and are in the process of dividing assets during these uncertain times, expect to experience some challenges. For a start, you may be forced to sell your assets at a cost that is much lower than how much you purchased them. A smarter move may be to hold on to your assets and wait for stability. Don’t sell your home at a loss due to the panic surrounding most investors losing their money on stocks. House values are expected to go down given that most people are not buying homes, which has resulted in an oversupply of housing. If you have some real estate property, hold on to it until things are stable instead of rushing to dispose of it because of the separation.
Don’t sell your share of the business
By dividing assets with your spouse during these times, you are putting yourselves under too much pressure and tremendous risk. If you have a business that you jointly own, its value may have changed substantially due to the coronavirus pandemic. Don’t focus too much on how much you can get out of it, and be quick to sell half your share of the business. Consider its viability and work with your spouse to re-establish the business during this period.
Child and spousal support
During these uncertain and scary times, many employees are facing the reality that their jobs may be in jeopardy. Your spouse may not be able to provide a set amount of support for yourself or your child after the separation. You may want to consider coming up with a joint plan with your spouse to help with the day-to-day expenses and jointly save up on cash, which can be divided in the future. Be adaptable and flexible during these hard times. Creating a temporary solution that works for both parties can help things to turn out smoother.
What happens if you test positive?
If you have custody of your children, but you have been tested positive for Covid-19, ask for other forms of parenting time such as phone calls, Facetime, and Skype. Suspend all physical contact for at least two weeks after you’ve recovered from the virus. Work with the other parent and agree on when to resume parenting after the two weeks.
Traveling with children during Covid-19
If you wish to travel with children during this pandemic, you may require legal consent if the other parent disagrees. Your chances of winning are slim since traveling outside the country during this time puts children at risk of Covid-19. It is highly recommended that you stay at home and reduce the risk of your children contracting the virus.