The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting the globe, and many people must make arrangements to adjust to this unprecedented situation.
Pennsylvania courts are dealing with the balance of keeping employees safe while they conduct legal business. If you had plans to divorce, you may wonder what to do at this point. With the uncertainty in the world right now, there is no way to truly know when life will regain some sense of normalcy. However, the following may help you better understand your family law situation and help you make the best plans possible.
Should You Follow Through With Your Divorce Plans?
Some couples hold off on moving forward with a divorce for various reasons. You may be waiting for your child to graduate high school or for certain business dealings to close prior to filing. If you now find yourself in a situation in which you want to file for divorce, you may wonder if this is a good time to do so.
The answer to this question will depend on your own circumstances. If you and your spouse are able to amicably continue your current relationship, such as living in different rooms of the home and speaking calmly toward each other, you may want to wait until the pandemic is improved to file for divorce.
However, if you are in a dangerous situation in which you are unable to be near your spouse, now is an ideal time to file for divorce. When you file for divorce, the date on your petition will start the process of important legal issues, such as when the divorce can be finalized and starts the unassailable date of separation. This is important when it is time to deal with asset division and spousal support.
What If the Court Is Closed?
Pennsylvania courthouses are closed to the public except for emergency proceedings. However, the courts are still operating by accepting filings by mail and holding many hearings and conferences by telephone of video conference. You can still file for divorce and most divorces cases can even be finalized while the courthouses are closed. However, cases requiring extensive court hearings may be delayed. Filing your divorce now will ensure that you are “at the front of the line” if anything is delayed by pandemic conditions.
However, there may be instances in which your case can be heard before others if your situation calls for it. If you are in a dangerous situation, for example, your case may be moved ahead based on the need to finalize your divorce as quickly as possible.
Are Other Options Available?
Although you must involve the court system to finalize your divorce, you can opt for mediation to help you work through some of the details of your divorce. Mediations are easy to hold via teleconference.
You can approach mediation in several ways. For some couples, mediation can actually improve and save a marriage. Mediation allows each person to speak about the problems he or she has with the marriage. This is a time of deep communication in which you can each speak freely about your concerns.
If you know your marriage is beyond repair, you can still utilize mediation to take care of some of the details of your divorce. You can work out a schedule for custody, discuss the separation of assets, and so on. You still have to wait for the court system to reopen before you can finalize your divorce, but you will have everything worked out so there is less of a delay in your divorce.
This is a scary time for everyone. We at the Kalasnik Law Office LLC are here to answer all your questions during this time of uncertainty. Please give us a call if you need assistance.