As if getting divorced is not hard enough to do under normal circumstances, trying to do so during a pandemic may seem overwhelming.
With normal routines disrupted, jobs and incomes lost, and especially with an uncertain economy, it may seem nearly impossible to move forward once a decision to divorce has been reached.
So how do you go about starting a divorce process during this COVID-19 pandemic when so much about the future is unclear?
If your relationship is unsalvageable and you have tried to make it work to no avail, then you’ll need to move on.
While this may be an emotional and unsettling time, the best thing you can do during this pandemic is to focus on what you can control.
Take some time to research the options for the divorce, gather your financial information, create a reasonable budget, review your living arrangements, and, if you can, begin to discuss a parenting/custody plan if there are minor children involved.
If your ex-spouse is irrational and unreasonable and making your legal life a nightmare, then you need to hire an experienced lawyer and be strong for the sake of your children and/or for your financial security.
It also makes a lot of sense to hire a divorce lawyer especially if there is a real problem with abuse – spousal, child, sexual, or substance abuse in the marriage.
In these situations, it may be impossible for the abused spouse to negotiate effectively. A lawyer can help arrange the necessary protection for an abused spouse and the children, if any.
It can also make sense to hire a lawyer if your spouse is being dishonest or vindictive and you just can’t cope with it. In that case, you may need someone to protect your interests.
Finally, it’s prudent to hire a lawyer if your spouse has an attorney. This is especially true if you have children or are facing complicated financial issues. It could be difficult and emotionally intimidating to go head to head with a seasoned pro.
If You Fear Violence
If you fear that your spouse might harm you or your children (or abscond with your property), take action immediately.
Move to a safe place, and, if necessary, get a temporary restraining order to keep your spouse away.
It’s very important that you also get a temporary order for custody of your children so that you’re not accused of kidnapping.
If you need money, you have the right to use your joint accounts. Take the amount of money you realistically need plus some extra for emergencies (but try not to take more than half of what’s there unless you absolutely have to), and immediately file an action in court for support.
Divorce is never an easy decision to make, but sometimes it’s necessary, especially in cases of abuse. There’s a lot to do in order to get a divorce, including tons of paperwork and various procedural rules to follow, especially during a pandemic.
For information on the Lorain County Domestic Relations Court statement on COVID-19, click here.
It’s a good idea to hire an experienced divorce lawyer, like Attorney Mishak, who is familiar with the divorce process and can advocate on your behalf, both in and out of the courtroom, inevitably getting you the best result possible for your situation.