Those going through a divorce this year will face questions that those getting divorced in 2019 did not need to ask. The current coronavirus pandemic has impacted family lives, the legal system and the divorce process. Two specific examples of the impact of COVID-19 on divorce that every couple considering or currently going through a split should consider include how the divorce will progress and, for those with children, how it will impact parenting plans.
Consideration #1: The divorce process may look different
Although court systems are still working, the actual courtroom may not be open for family law matters like divorce. The North Carolina Judicial Branch currently states that it is operating at a reduced capacity and encourages the use of online services. As a result, you may need to prepare for virtual meetings, teleconferences and remote signings to finalize the divorce.
It is also wise to double check the court information for the county where the divorce is proceeding before heading to court. Changes to the hours of operation or a shift to remote hearings are possible.
Consideration #2: Parenting plans may need flexibility
Those who are interested in co-parenting are wise to discuss the types of interactions they are comfortable with the children having during the pandemic. These conversations will likely include whether or not the children should attend school in person or virtually and how the parents feel about participating in extracurricular activities.
These parents, as well as those who are currently divorced, may also need to discuss how these plans will impact child support agreements, as a shift to virtual learning could also come with increased child care expenses. For those already divorced, this could mean the parents require a modification to the child support agreement.