As we enter this new norm of COVID-19, many of us are re-working our professional lives. We are figuring out new ways to communicate and work from home, while still allowing life to proceed. A number of my current clients, and undoubtedly many others, are asking “What does this all mean for divorce?”
It’s not an easy question to answer as many things are changing. The answer today may be different in a few days, weeks or even months. A number of us are in communication about these changes and how we can adapt our processes for clients and families.
For now, the courts are open for administrative dissolutions and emergency hearings related to children’s issues. For those of us working in collaborative law, divorces can still proceed with meetings are happening remotely. While we may miss out on the emotional connections and feelings that often exist “in the room,” we can still move ahead and help people find some finality over teleconferences and Zoom meetings as well. While not ideal, it is adaptable. And its especially helpful that the Court no longer requires notarized documents – so we can electronically facilitate signing of documents.
Regarding divorce, there are some factual questions that invariably come up in times of uncertainty. With the stock market down, many numbers are now deflated so it may feel uncomfortable reaching agreements. As always, if you are equalizing retirement, our process is typically designed to accommodate variability in the market. But if you are buying out another asset (like a house) with retirement, then the variability may greatly impact the agreements. House values may greatly vary and refinancing rates are another variable that can be problematic.
Clients currently in the collaborative divorce process can continue their process. Some clients may choose to pause for the short term and then we can re-assess. If it’s only a few weeks delay, it should be easy to pick back up. If this new norm lasts months, clients may choose to move ahead and we can adapt as we go. New cases can start up. It may actually be a good time to work on the document gathering part of the process.
Times of uncertainty are always hard but we are here for you. Please reach out if you have questions on your current case or interest in starting the process. We are here for you.