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Filing For A Divorce During A Pandemic: Things To Know

by Layla Bryant

Even though filing for a divorce is never really considered a simple process, filing for a divorce in the middle of a pandemic can make matters even worse. During the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020, many couples have difficulty obtaining a divorce due to the changes within the legal system. If you are looking to get a divorce during a pandemic, it is best if you fully understand how the usual process can look much different from usual. Here are a few things to know about this unique situation as someone looking to file for divorce amid a global health crisis.

You may take part in teleconferencing during certain points of the filing process. 

Whether it is talking to your attorney, getting together with a mediator, or otherwise, you may have to do teleconferencing instead of face-to-face meetings during a pandemic. In order to slow the spread of an illness, many professionals, including legal counselors, attorneys, and others within the legal system may utilize teleconferencing to perform some meetings that can be a necessary part of the divorce filing process. 

You can expect your court date to be further away than usual. 

During a pandemic, many courts will close down. For example, during COVID-19, many state and county courthouses closed down, as well as some federal courthouses. Unfortunately, if you are filing for a divorce and awaiting your court date, this can mean that your case will be prolonged a lot longer than usual. You may have to wait for the courthouses where you live to reopen, especially if they are not performing any remote services. Additionally, when courthouses do start to open, they may only be taking priority cases to get caught up, which means you may have to wait even longer. Throughout the process, keep in touch with your divorce attorney to make sure you know what to expect. 

You may only get a divorce hearing in extenuating circumstances. 

In some states, the local court systems may only hear certain divorce cases in family court during a pandemic. For example, if you are filing for a divorce from a spouse that has been incarcerated or has been physically abusive. If you have a dire reason for needing to obtain a divorce, make sure you discuss your situation with a divorce attorney. The attorney may know about local court guidelines that could help you get your divorce faster in spite of the pandemic.