“Can I proceed with divorce if a stay-at-home order is in effect?”
I practice law in the state of Florida. Unless you live there, I cannot inform you as to the specific laws of your state, but I can give you some general observations on family law issues and how they are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, based on the jurisdiction where I practice.
You may likely be able to proceed with divorce, despite a stay-at-home order. Each state, city, and county are issuing their unique Executive Order(s). Most courthouses across the nation are closed to the public and/or are limiting in person hearings. However, due to the fact that most states have previously transferred to an electronic filing platform, it is very easy to file the initial pleadings to start the divorce action.
I do not know the specific details of your particular circumstances, but I would also urge you to consider the timing of the filing of your divorce action if you are under a stay-at-home order and currently living with your spouse.
If the divorce action is already in process, meaning that the initial pleadings were already filed, the courthouse closure can affect your litigation, depending on what stage you are in and what state you are in. But, that does not mean that that the case will not proceed – it may just move slower for a while. As mentioned above, most courts are holding remote hearings but some are not holding any hearings at all until the courthouse re-opens. As you can imagine, this could possibly create a huge backlog for the judges. So, it may be better to commence a case now to get the process started rather than wait.
I would encourage you to contact a domestic litigation attorney licensed in your area who can examine the full details of your situation and give you more specific legal advice as to your case. Cordell & Cordell has attorneys who are licensed and located in many states across the nation who would be happy to discuss your matter with you in detail.
Remember I am unable to provide you with anything more than divorce tips at this time.
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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.