The COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging for everyone to navigate. If you’re considering divorce or you are in the middle of the divorce process, you may be wondering what happens next and how long your divorce will take.
Although some courts are operating on a limited basis via videoconference or in-person with social distancing protocols in place, divorce hearings in many jurisdictions have been put on the back burner. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean you’re unable to take any action at all.
The attorneys at Thomas, Conrad & Conrad can help you understand the options that may be available to you and advise you on how to proceed during these trying times.
Uncontested No-Fault Divorce
If you and your spouse are on decent terms, a family law attorney can help you file for uncontested divorce by mutual consent. It’s important to have a divorce lawyer assist you with hashing out issues, such as division of marital assets, debts, child support and custody, and spousal support.
Even in the best of circumstances, conflict can arise, and attempting to file for divorce during the pandemic can be confusing. Your attorney can ensure your interests are protected and help you avoid procedural errors that can hold up the process.
Once all issues are settled, your lawyer can draw up a divorce settlement agreement that lays out the terms of your divorce. Although your lawyer can assist you with filing for divorce, it is important to keep in mind that courts and government agencies are experiencing significant backlogs, so even a simple uncontested divorce may take longer to be finalized.
Contested Divorce Cases
Most Pennsylvania courts are not conducting in-person divorce hearings during the pandemic. The family court is focused on handling urgent matters involving child custody and other pressing issues. Even if a hearing may be conducted remotely, it can be challenging to conduct a full trial and argue a case with evidence and witnesses via videoconference.
Having a lawyer who knows the current policies and procedures of the local courts is vital, as each jurisdiction is proceeding differently.
Settling Your Divorce Out of Court
Your best option for settling a divorce during the pandemic is with alternative dispute resolution methods, such as mediation or collaborative divorce. Waiting to take your case to court means your divorce will take much longer to resolve, which can have an impact on property division, alimony, and other issues.
An attorney who is experienced in negotiation and conflict resolution may be able to help you come to an agreement more quickly without the need for a contested divorce hearing. Resolving these issues out of court will ultimately help you save time and money and alleviate some of the stress you may be feeling. Regardless of the circumstances, divorce can take a serious emotional and financial toll on families, so avoiding a lengthy court battle benefits everyone involved.
Not only that, but due to the backlog in the courts, there is no way to estimate how long your divorce may take if you wait to go to trial. Each case is different, so if you were in the middle of court proceedings before the pandemic started, make sure to keep in touch with your attorney and ask about any options that may help move things along.
Contact a Lehigh Valley Family Law Attorney
Our divorce lawyers at Thomas, Conrad & Conrad are honored to serve clients in the Lehigh Valley and Poconos region during the COVID-19 pandemic. We understand dealing with divorce during a pandemic presents new challenges, and we’re ready to take them on and help our clients any way we can.