Special Considerations for Divorce During the Pandemic
Forced closer together by lockdowns, travel restrictions, work-from-home orders and school closures during the pandemic, many married couples have seen their relationships strained to the point of breaking. This has led to a surge of divorces in New York and across the nation. But with the backlog of cases caused by COVID-related court closures, estranged spouses have learned that divorce isn’t what it used to be.
If you already filed for divorce or are considering filing as the pandemic ebbs, it will be important to know how to manage your expectations. Some of the special considerations of a COVID-era divorce pertain to:
- Timing —Divorcing spouses sometimes are waiting several months to more than a year for hearing dates. When each spouse is trying to move past the painful divorce process and onto the next chapter of their lives, these added months can feel like a lifetime. Delays can also result in added legal fees and other costs.
- Marital assets — The pandemic upended many people’s finances. A division of assets during a divorce in the wake of COVID-19 may look quite different than it would at another time. For example, the price of the family home may have lost or gained substantial value. This type of sere children, spouses or others may be able to hear. The lack of privacy can add a layer of difficulty to already-tough meetings such as therapy sessions, mediation talks, legal consultations and real estate calls.
- Private judges — Some wealthy couples have decided to forgo the lengthy public court process in favor of retaining a private judge. Although the cost is substantial, this option provides the convenience of having the case heard quickly by a judge who can fully dedicate their attention to it, rather than being distracted by a large backlog.
In New York, demand for divorce mediation and collaborative divorce has increased significantly during the coronavirus crisis. Both processes can achieve productive settlements outside of court. They typically cost less money and take less time than divorce litigation and they can resolve difficult issues such as how COVID-related financial changes may be accounted for in the divorce settlement.
The experienced divorce attorneys at Bryan L. Salamone & Associates, P.C. in Melville, New York advise and represent clients located in Suffolk County and throughout Long Island. To speak with a member of our accomplished legal team, call 1.631.479.3839 or contact us online.