Can I Get Divorced During This COVID-19 Pandemic?

Without a doubt, 2020 will be known as (hopefully the only) year of coronavirus. To stop the pandemic’s spread, gatherings of 10 or more people have been discouraged and nonessential businesses have been forced to close. Services that remained open have had to operate under strict social distancing and sanitation protocols. As the death toll continues to rise and experts warn of resurgences, it is impossible to say when the pandemic will be over. Millions of Americans have been laid off or furloughed from their jobs, or are now required to work from home. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, but spending 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with their spouse has made some people question their relationships. Stress about finances and disagreements over how strictly to self isolate can also put strain on a marriage. Those who are considering divorce are left with the question, “Is it even possible right now?”

Moving Out

Businesses like movers and apartment complexes have remained operating during the pandemic as essential businesses. These services may have restricted hours or social isolation protocols, so you should do your research before leaving home.  

California Child Custody Issues 

Co-parenting during a pandemic comes with unique struggles. Many people now work from home and have to juggle remote work with all day child care and home school tutoring. Essential workers are struggling to find childcare. Having one parent move out of the home will only aggravate these struggles.

However, many school districts are choosing not to reopen and continue offering virtual learning. Some schools have been offering socially isolated childcare during the summer for essential workers, and may continue to do so if the district remains remote. While funding will decrease if the district doesn’t offer in person learning, it will come at the expense of many teachers taking their retirement. 

Once your petition is filed, you will probably need temporary custody orders put in place. Parents can agree with each other to deviate from these orders if necessary, but must abide by the order if they can’t come to agreement despite challenges posed by the pandemic. Do not withhold custody of your child unless they are in immediate danger.  

Hiring an Attorney for Divorce During This Pandemic

If you are concerned about contracting coronavirus at an in-person, many family law attorneys will be willing to do an initial consultation with you over the phone. This comes with advantages and disadvantages. On the plus side, you may find it easier to stay organized and even have or take notes. Consulting over the phone will be much more convenient if you aren’t able to drive or find childcare. Some people may have an easier time keeping or regaining their composure over the phone. On the other hand, it may be difficult for you to find the privacy from your spouse at home to do a divorce consultation. Family law matters can be complicated and there will be a lot of moving pieces, which you might have an easier time comprehending in person. Some people prefer to meet with their attorney in person just to feel more personal. 

Electronic filing for your case may only be available to attorneys, depending on the jurisdiction in which your divorce petition is filed. Your spouse will then be served with the petition and file their response. Many times, the spouse will also hire an attorney, and each spouse’s attorney may be able to negotiate a divorce settlement agreement without ever going to trial. You can also try mediation before proceeding to trial, but mediation would be conducted in person. If you aren’t able to reach an agreement at this point, the case will proceed to trial. If your spouse fails to respond to the petition or appear at trial, the judge will grant a default divorce, and the divorce will be ordered under the terms you requested in your petition. 

Contact Our San Francisco Divorce Team Law Office Today

Our San Francisco Divorce Team Law Office offers free phone consultations with our expert San Francisco Divorce Team attorneys to those who have additional questions about family law issues during the pandemic.