E37: Season 4 Episode 2 – The Effects of COVID 19 on Family Law

by Apr 28, 2020Season 40 comments

Adapting To COVID-19 Conditions

COVID-19 has come with many challenges, some less obvious than others. The underlying circumstances before the outbreak didn’t disappear when the coronavirus arrived. There were pending divorces and child custody battles going on that have essentially been paused and that can lead to a lot of problems at home. So the attorneys at WhitbeckBennett have had to pivot fast. When you don’t have any privacy in your home in can be extremely difficult to speak with your attorney about your divorce process, a Zoom meeting might not get the job done. So WhitbeckBennett have created private, no-contact rooms within their offices so individuals can come in and speak with confidence in privacy to their attorneys. With the courts being closed with the exceptions of emergencies, the process is going to be a bit different and longer than usual. 


Custody Battles In The Time Of COVID-19

Sharing custody of children is different for every family. With the added stress and restrictions of COVID-19 this can exasperate the issue. The most important thing to keep in mind is the well being of the child. There are factors you need to take into account such as asthma or other underlying immuno-compromising issues. If you’re lucky and there are no issues, then you need to ask yourself is it really that dangerous for the child to be with their other parent for the weekend. In cases where both parents are focused on the child’s well being, it should be fine for the child to go for the weekend. 


Spousal And Child Support Obligations

We know that millions of Americans have lost their income or it has drastically changed since the beginning of COVID-19. Among those people there are many individuals that owe child support and spousal support on a regular schedule. If this is the case for you, it is very important that you file a motion to amend your support order. Get this on the books with the courts as soon as possible. This can even work retroactively, so file that motion now. Have that consultation with your attorney and figure out your options. 


Divorce During Trying Times

Divorce is never an easy process, it is emotional even in the best of times, but with the forced restrictions from COVID-19 it can make this process even worse. As with any major life decision, you need to be 100% sure you’re ready to go through with the divorce, if you’ve come to that conclusion then it is time to move forward with the process. With the courts being closed with the exception of emergencies the backlog of divorce cases are piling up, so file now only if you are positive you’re ready to move forward. Have that consultation with your attorney, get on the books, and figure out your options for how to move forward in the divorce process. 


The Takeaways

File early to get on the court docket so you aren’t severely delayed in the backlog when the courts re-open. Keep the best interests of the child in mind when making shared custody decisions. Remember there are resources available to you through consulting your attorneys. 



Tom Dunlap: Linkedin

John Whitbeck: Linkedin

Blackletter: Website

WhitbeckBennett: Website


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