If you’ve made the decision to move forward with a divorce, you’re not alone. Divorce rates have skyrocketed this year compared to years past, and many believe this spike is in part caused by additional stress fueled by the coronavirus pandemic. However, the pandemic is also affecting how the courts are handling divorce proceedings. In today’s blog, we take a closer look at how Illinois is handling divorces during the pandemic, and what you should do if you’re planning on moving forward with a divorce during these turbulent times.
Divorcing In Illinois Amid The Coronavirus
As we mentioned in the intro, we’re seeing a noticeable increase in the amount of divorce proceedings in Illinois and across the United States. Statistics show that the number of couples interested in a divorce between March and June increased 34 percent compared to the same time period in 2019. This may seem like a stark increase, but it’s not without reason. That time period is generally considered the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
During this time, people were being laid off from work as businesses closed their doors, others were trying to do their best to work from home, and many parents were trying to juggle schooling and childcare as schools and daycares told kids to stay home. Add in the fact that people were getting sick and we were advised to limit in-person contact, and all of these factors greatly increased stress in our lives. Everyone handles this stress differently, and while sometimes it can make couples stronger, stress can also amplify issues in a relationship and lead to irreconcilable differences.
The pandemic also affected how courts handled these divorce proceedings. Divorce proceedings shifted online, which had its own benefits and drawbacks. Divorcing spouses no longer needed to meet in person in order to help move their case along, but at the same time, navigating everything over video conference or Facetime presents its own challenges. Many courts are also in the process of reopening, and sometimes family law cases get put on the back burner, so getting a divorce during this period is a bit unpredictable and fluid.
With that said, there are still some things you’ll need to remember if you’re considering getting a divorce in the near future. Those tips are:
- Still Consult With A Divorce Lawyer – Our law firm and many other family law firms are still open, and you really should consult with a lawyer even if you can start the divorce proceedings online. Even in amicable divorces, it’s best to have a trained professional ensure you get what you rightfully deserve and your assets are protected.
- Separate Lawyers – Don’t assume that a lawyer hired by your spouse will just handle the situation for both sides. If your spouse hired the lawyer, the lawyer will be acting in their best interest, not yours. You need your own divorce lawyer.
- Be Prepared – Try to be as prepared as possible as you begin your divorce journey. Make a list of important assets or areas you want addressed with the lawyer (alimony, child support, custody agreements, asset division, etc.).
- Work Changes and Alimony – If your job has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic, you may be eligible for temporary alimony. Your lawyer can walk you through your alimony options based on your current job situation.
- Be Patient – It may take some time for the courts to be able to hear and process your divorce, so try your best to be patient. If you have any questions or concerns during this process, reach out to your lawyer for guidance.
If you’re considering getting a divorce in Illinois in the near future, reach out to Brett and the team at Appelman & Lloyd for more information.