Many couples have found themselves stuck at home with a partner when they were already dealing with an unhealthy or unhappy relationship. Throw in the added stress of a pandemic, financial insecurity, and having to homeschool children, it’s not surprising that more unions are on the brink of collapse. And those who are already pursuing a divorce may wonder how the divorce process has changed with COVID-19.
COVID-19 and Divorce in Washington State
As the shelter-in-place orders across Washington State have been ongoing, the situation with the courts continues to change. The family law courts are trying to find ways to continue to provide services while keeping everyone safe. Law firms are also adapting to the new reality by implementing methods to provide services at a distance.
Currently, the courts are still granting divorces, but the time frame for signing orders isn’t the same as before. If you’ve already filed for divorce, you should expect a delay in getting a Final Dissolution of Marriage. The courts have limited hearings to more pressing matters and are even handling more hearings by telephone.
The Pros and Cons of Filing for Divorce During a Shutdown
If you wish to file for divorce in Washington State during the government shutdown, you still have options. There are some pros and cons to taking this approach.
An experienced family law attorney can help you file and finalize your divorce paperwork with the courts online. This is an option that remains available even now.
Filing for an uncontested divorce would be the simplest solution, but you still have the opportunity to work through some issues outside the courtroom. You can get professional support through mediation or collaboration to reach mutually agreeable solutions regarding assets, child custody, and support payments. In cases where you are having trouble working together, you can always try arbitration.
Finally, you might want to file for divorce now because waiting can have a negative impact on custody and support cases. Waiting to file can make it appear that you don’t place urgency on custody matters, and financial relief might end up being retroactive.
The downside to filing for divorce right now is that you may experience some delays. Luckily, divorce hearings are continuing with the help of technology such as video conferencing and electronically sharing documents.
Get the Help and Advice of an Experienced Washington Family Law Attorney
Whether you are currently considering a divorce or have one pending, there are difficult and challenging times. As you deal with the emotional and financial impact of COVID-19, the best course of action is to remain calm and keep informed about ways to protect yourself, your family, and your rights.
At AB Law, our experienced Washington family law attorneys are continuing to assist clients during the coronavirus pandemic. Contact our office today to learn more about how we help find the best solution to your issues.