There is a shelter-in-place orders in my state, and it continues to be extended. I have no way of knowing when I will be able to move my divorce case along and actually get into court. What does the divorce procedure look like during a pandemic?
I do not practice law in your state. Therefore, I cannot inform you as to the specific laws of your state, but I can provide you with general tips for this sort of issue.
While a lot of courts are closed in many jurisdictions across the United States, due to shelter-in-place orders as a result of COVID-19, not all aspects of a divorce are put on hold. In a divorce case, most of the heavy lifting happens outside of court, and the most meaningful steps are taken between you and your attorney by way of document gathering, through the process of discovery and through settlement discussions.
If you are in the early stages of your divorce, you might be in a position where the next step is completing your financial disclosures. Now is an excellent time to fill out all of the necessary forms with respect to your income, expenses, assets, and debts.
Additionally, these forms require supporting documentation in the form of bank statements, loan statements, property valuations, etc. Most, if not all of these documents, can be found online or can be accessed through your financial institutions over the phone.
Work with your attorney to ensure that your financial disclosures are completed during this time, as all of the information is readily accessible regardless of shelter-in-place and each aspect of completing your disclosures remotely can be completed.
If you are past the financial disclosure phase and still have additional information that needs to be gathered from the opposing party in your case, engaging in discovery also is a step forward you still can take while sheltering-in-place. Communicate with your attorney about questions you still may have or gaps that may exist in your spouse’s financial disclosures and determine if requesting additional documentation or answers would be beneficial to your case.
If the disclosures are done and your attorney has determined that you have sufficient information after engaging in discovery to attempt to reach an informed agreement, it is time to talk about a settlement. Discuss your goals with your attorney and how they may have shifted over the course of your case. Lay out your main goals, and discuss strategy with your attorney, in terms of reaching settlement.
Your attorney still can reach out to opposing counsel or opposing party and negotiate to reach an agreement. Depending on the jurisdiction, you may have to wait to file the agreement once reached, but at that point, the heavy lifting will be behind you.
To arrange an initial consultation to discuss divorce rights for men with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, contact Cordell & Cordell.
Dan Pearce is an Online Editor for Lexicon, focusing on subjects related to the legal services of customers, Cordell & Cordell and Cordell Planning Partners. He has written countless pieces on MensDivorce.com, detailing the plight of men and fathers going through the divorce experience, as well as the issues seniors and their families experience throughout the estate planning journey on ElderCareLaw.com. Mr. Pearce has managed websites and helped create content, such as the Men’s Divorce Newsletter and the YouTube series, “Men’s Divorce Countdown.” He also has been a contributor on both the Men’s Divorce Podcast and ElderTalk with TuckerAllen.
Mr. Pearce assisted in fostering a Cordell Planning Partners practice area specific for Veterans, as they deal with the intricacies of their benefits while planning for the future. He also helped create the Cordell Planning Partners Resource Guide and the Cordell Planning Partners Guide to Alternative Residence Options, specific for seniors with questions regarding their needs and living arrangements.