How Does the Coronavirus Affect My Divorce?
The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic continues to affect nearly every aspect of our daily lives. Restaurants, movie theaters, office buildings, and government agencies have been closed in order to limit the spread of the virus. These closures, as well as the spread of the illness itself, have had a profound impact on the finances and habits of everyone in the country. If you were considering divorce, or if you have a divorce already in the works, the pandemic is likely to affect the process. Continue reading for a discussion of some of the ways the coronavirus might affect your divorce proceeding, and speak with a dedicated Chicago family law and divorce attorney for help with your Illinois divorce.
The coronavirus pandemic has hit many families financially. Individuals may have contracted the virus and now must pay the medical bills connected to recovery. Even if no one in your family has gotten sick, business closures have led to millions of workers around the country having their income reduced, getting furloughed, or losing their jobs.
If you have a pending divorce, you might have already started or finished evaluating each spouse’s income and the value of their property for the sake of alimony, child support, and property division. Speak with your attorney and your financial team to discuss whether the pandemic has affected any of these calculations. Either party may have taken a hit to their income, affecting their ability to pay support or the amount of support they need to receive, and there may be new questions about who can afford to buy out the family house or take on the mortgage. The value of the home may have been affected by changes to the real estate market. Stocks, jointly owned businesses, retirement plans, and other marital assets, may need to be re-valued for the sake of equitable property division.
Scheduling and Case Procedure
Efforts at preventing the spread of the novel coronavirus have led to courts around the State closing down for in-person procedures. If you have an ongoing or pending divorce, your matter has likely been delayed. In-court appearances were certainly delayed, and deadlines for things like discovery may be or may not have been delayed as well.
As the spread has slowed, courts are slowly and tentatively reopening, while continuing to utilize remote conferencing technology. Beginning July 6, 2020, the Cook County circuit court plans to hear all matters other than jury trials but will aim to host as many matters via videoconference and teleconference as possible. Judges retain discretion to order that matters be held via videoconference, teleconference, or in-person with strict safety rules in place. Outside of the court, mediation, arbitration, and settlement negotiations can also be held remotely via videoconference or teleconference.
Discuss your case with your attorney to learn how the closures have affected your matter and how future proceedings will be conducted based on the word of the judge in your case.
CALL FOR HELP WITH YOUR ILLINOIS DIVORCE
If you are facing divorce, domestic violence, or any other family law matter in the Greater Chicago area, contact the knowledgeable and professional Carol Stream family law attorneys at Johnson, Westra, Broecker, Whittaker & Newitt for a consultation on your case at 630-665-9600.