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Divorce During a Pandemic: What Arizona Couples Need to Know

It’s no secret that Covid-19 has wreaked havoc on our society and most of our personal relationships. Couples have found themselves stuck inside, with little outside interaction, making home life unbearable for some. These factors, combined with financial strain, concerns about personal safety, and the inability to have occasional alone time, have led to a significant increase in divorce rates. If you have determined that now is the time to move forward with a divorce, there are several changes within the legal system to consider.

Divorce During A Pandemic

As married couples continue to spend more time together, more people are beginning to realize that their relationships are not sustainable. The reality is that even though the divorce process has changed due to COVID-19, it is still possible to move forward with the dissolution of a marriage.

How Is COVID-19 Impacting Court Hearings?

Divorce During A Pandemic - What Arizona Couples Need To KnowDivorce proceedings have changed in many ways due to stay-at-home orders and social distancing requirements. In the same way that most businesses are being forced to operate differently to keep customers safe, the courts are also adopting new processes. These changes have caused courts to be short-staffed and fall behind when it comes to processing divorce paperwork or ruling on divorce settlements. This means that it can take longer to resolve your divorce, mainly if you and your spouse are not in agreement on the final settlement.

Click here for COVID-19 JUDICIAL BRANCH OPERATIONS AND UPDATES for Maricopa County.

In addition to the overall divorce process taking longer, some courts are changing how they process Arizona divorce cases. Many people are surprised to learn that their hearing will be held over the phone or via video conference instead of an in-person proceeding. These new changes continue to contribute to the backlog of divorce cases that the Arizona courts are handling, and these delays are expected to continue well into 2021.

Does Mediation = A Quick Divorce?

Mediation is one of the more common methods of managing a divorce, and it is becoming increasingly popular during this pandemic. If you choose to go through mediation, a mediator or a third-party legal professional will be assigned to your case and help in sorting through the divorce details. Since scheduling and holding court hearings during the pandemic can be complicated, mediation makes it possible for you and your ex-spouse to come to agreed-upon terms that will simplify and shorten the overall divorce process.

Additionally, mediators can coordinate relevant meetings, process paperwork, and in some cases, help speed up ending your marriage. Mediators can make it easier for couples to separate assets, work through custody disputes, and finalize financial settlements. Working with a mediator is a great way to ensure that your divorce goes as smoothly as possible without going to trial.

How Can I Best Prepare for Divorce?

Arizona Divorce During A PandemicMore than ever, properly preparing for a divorce will save you time, money, and stress. The last thing you will want is to altogether leave your divorce case in the hands of the courts. The reality is that this can leave you stuck in your marriage for longer than desired. Between scheduling concerns, social-distancing limitations, and a flood of court cases, the divorce process could face many delays and carry on for a much longer time if you are not properly prepared.

Hire A Divorce Attorney
If you have decided that you want to move forward with filing for divorce, the first step is to hire a trusted legal advisor to help you through the process. Even though the courts are usually able to help manage disputes, they do not have the capacity to attend to the case as a dedicated attorney would. By working with an attorney, you can ensure that all your divorce paperwork is completed correctly and submitted to the court. An attorney’s aid will allow you to navigate the divorce process better, saving you time and providing you better legal protection in the end.

• Get Your Paperwork Together
Many people are surprised to learn just how much paperwork goes into filing for divorce. The fact is that detangling your life from your spouses can take quite a bit of time and effort. Take the necessary steps to list out all your assets, debts, and income in full detail and take the time to locate and copy the back-up documentation for the same such as bank statements, deeds, etc. The courts will require this information when it comes to approving your divorce.

• Attempt to Reach an Agreement Outside the Courtroom
Unless you and your former partner would like to spend months in court sorting out the details of your separation all while paying attorneys, you must try and come to an agreement in advance. Take the time to work with your ex-spouse to determine how you will split any assets, debts, and complete child custody details. If you can make your agreements in advance, you will have a much easier time completing your divorce.

Summary

Unfortunately, COVID-19 has been difficult for everyone. If the pandemic has proven that certain parts of your life need to change, you are not alone. More people each day are coming to this same realization. With some mindful planning and preparation, there are several resources available to end your marriage and move on to the next chapter.

For more information about getting divorced during COVID-19 in Arizona, call the attorneys at Owens & Perkins at 480-994-8824 or click here for your free 30-minute legal consultation.

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