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Kevin O'Flaherty

This article will discuss aspects of the divorce process that may look different for much of 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We will cover the following topics:


  • Delays in the divorce process due to Covid-19
  • Getting privacy from your soon-to-be ex-spouse during Covid-19
  • Remote options for divorce in 2021
  • Standard divorce considerations in a Covid world


The New Year brings with it change, opportunity, and renewal; in 2021, this is perhaps more true than it has ever been. Many have made New Year resolutions and subsequently failed to keep said resolutions; good-bye dry January, hello damp January. For others, the hope of a better year inspires them to get that divorce finally. But, as we experienced in 2020, divorce during the age of Covid looks a little different. If you're planning to file for divorce, or you're already in the process, there are some factors you should consider and some steps you can take now to prepare.


Delays in the Divorce Process Due to Covid-19


Many courts in Illinois continue to be open only for emergencies. While the backlog of cases has slowly decreased as handling cases virtually becomes commonplace, the process needs refinement. Much of the paperwork involved in a divorce case can be completed and signed online. In fact, if the divorce isn't overcomplicated, such as those with considerable assets, or long custody battles, the entire process can be completed virtually, save for the final step of obtaining the formal divorce decree. Bottom line, be prepared for a divorce process that may take longer than you expect due to circumstances that are out of your and the court's control.


How To Get Privacy From Your Soon-To-Be Ex-Spouse During Covid-19


Lack of privacy and the inability to create separation carries much culpability for increased divorce rates during the pandemic. But what happens when you decide to get divorced and still can't find a way to get separation? The problem here is that you will need time to consult with your attorney one on one in your spouse's absence. Furthermore, you will need to store physical documents and digital files in a place inaccessible to your spouse. If the divorce is amicable, working out designated privacy areas and times might not be difficult. Still, not everyone will have the luxury to carve out alone time, let alone have a separate device for storing files. We urge those struggling with the above issues to speak with their attorney to determine the available options.


Remote Options for Divorce in 2021


If your mind's made up, don't hesitate to move forward with filing for divorce just because you're concerned about the practical complications due to Covid-19. Divorce courts and our firm have been handling divorce cases virtually for months now. Furthermore, don't assume that you will have less time with your attorney or be less likely to get your fair share in the divorce because most of the process is handled online. Much of the work involved in deciding who gets what is done behind the scenes after each party makes their position clear. If necessary, mediation can efficiently be completed through streaming apps, such as Zoom and GoTo Meeting.


Standard Divorce Consideration in a Covid World


Beyond the physical limitations imposed on divorce proceedings by Covid-19, you should be thinking about how the pandemic might affect your decisions related to the big issues you'll need to tackle during the divorce. Property division, spousal support, child support, and child custody might all look a little different when viewed through the viral laden lens of Covid-19. While none of these considerations should stop you from moving forward with your divorce, you should spend extra time where needed to address the impact Covid-19 might have on a provision under the final divorce agreement. Some not so obvious issues might include access to healthcare for your children, what should happen if you or the other parent falls ill due to Covid-19, who makes the medical decisions for the children, etc. Even if you don't plan on filing for divorce until the later part of 2021, there are several steps you can take to begin preparing for the process. If you have any questions about divorce in 2021, please give us a call.



Disclaimer: The information provided on this blog is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Each individual's legal needs are unique, and these materials may not be applicable to your legal situation. Always seek the advice of a competent attorney with any questions you may have regarding a legal issue. Do not disregard professional legal advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog.


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