covid affecting divorce

How COVID is Still Complicating Divorce Proceedings

COVID-19 has been throwing a wrench in divorce proceedings since early 2020, and many people are surprised to find out that these same issues exist over two years later. While the court system is processing cases now, divorcing and divorced couples are still dealing with the aftermath of a global pandemic.

Has COVID-19 affected your ongoing divorce or custody proceedings? It’s time to talk to the team at Kirk Drennan Law. We’re here to help you navigate your family law issues. Call our Birmingham office at 205-803-3500 to schedule a consultation now.

Complicated Division of Assets and Debts

The pandemic has affected how many couples divide their debts and assets. Even high-income couples may have found their income negatively impacted by the pandemic due to business closures and fluctuations in the stock market.

Those with significant assets may have still found themselves short of liquid assets, requiring them to tap into lines of credit, retirement funds, and other assets. Additionally, the values of certain assets have seen substantial change over the last several years. If a couple is trying to divide assets with fluctuating values or has taken on additional debt to get through the pandemic, that could complicate their split.

Relocating for Work

Some people have relocated during the pandemic, either to pursue new work opportunities or to take advantage of remote work options and lower real estate costs in other parts of the country. This becomes an issue when a couple splits custody of their children. While one parent may want the children to remain in the same city that they’ve lived in their whole lives, the other parent may want to bring them along when they relocate.

Unless the parents are able to come to an agreement themselves, the final decision is left up to the court, which will decide based on what is best for the child. For the parent who has relocated, that often means returning to the Birmingham Municipal Court for hearings—even if that means driving hours to do so.

Delayed Proceedings

Although Alabama courts are moving through cases at a steady pace now, the average turnaround time may still affect how long it takes to get divorced. This can be frustrating for couples who have waited months or even years to see their divorce finalized. Some individuals have found themselves in a holding pattern—not yet single, but not truly married—which leaves them unable to date, establish permanent support orders, or rely on a set custody agreement.

Different Beliefs Regarding COVID-19

A trend we’ve seen around the country is coparents who disagree on COVID-19 safety. While one parent takes extreme caution and limits outings, the other takes a more lenient approach to the virus and its impact on their life. When both parents feel strongly that their way is the only correct way, explosive arguments often follow.

Unfortunately, there is no quick and easy answer to this. The courts have generally ruled that the pandemic is not enough of a reason to deny visitation to a less cautious parent, but these disagreements can still seriously erode the co-parenting relationship and force both sides to rack up large legal bills.

Travel Plans

COVID-19 has led to the cancellation of international vacations, family trips, weddings, and every other major event. When co-parents try to agree on travel plans and changes in custody schedule, complications arise if one parent is more cautious about COVID-19 than the other.

If one parent attempts to deny extra visitation to the other parent, a backlog in court cases could drag the issue out so long that it’s no longer relevant. Again, this leads to further co-parenting issues and a greater chance of legal problems down the line. The matter is even more complex if the divorce is not yet finalized, as temporary custody orders may not be clear about these types of issues.

Discuss Your Divorce Needs with Kirk Drennan Law

If your divorce or other family law concern has been complicated by COVID-19, make sure you have a strong legal team that’s ready to fight for you. Kirk Drennan Law is here to advocate for you and secure a fair outcome. Schedule a consultation right away by reaching out online or calling us at 205-803-3500.

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