How to Adjust to Life After Divorce Amid a Pandemic
Roughly half of all marriages in the United States end in divorce, and divorce rates have increased steadily over the past 30 years for those over the age of 50. If you think that your marriage is coming to an end, you shouldn’t wait to start planning for a life without your spouse. It’s even more important to be proactive considering the unique challenges of the COVID crisis.
Where Will You Live?
You and your spouse may decide that the best thing to do with the marital home is to liquidate it and split the proceeds from the sale. However, economic conditions could make it harder to find a buyer who is willing to pay what the property is worth. Therefore, it may be necessary to wait for several months until a suitable buyer can be found.
It may be difficult or impossible to rent an apartment and stay current on your mortgage at the same time. Therefore, your most affordable options will be to continue living in the home with your spouse or living with friends or relatives who won’t charge rent. You should also consider asking your spouse to live in an apartment or with family members until the home can be sold.
How Will Parenting Duties Be Allocated?
If you have children, you will generally have a significant role in their lives even after splitting from your spouse. However, creating a parenting plan can be difficult in a world where your son or daughter spends two days a week going to school remotely and two days a week in a physical classroom. In many cases, there are strict limits as to how many family members can accompany a child to a doctor’s appointment or stay with a sick child in the hospital.
Finally, you will need to account for the possibility that state or national borders may close with little or no warning if a COVID-19 outbreak occurs. Depending on where you live, this might force you to spend days, weeks or months separated from your child regardless of what a custody or visitation agreement states. A New Jersey family law attorney could answer any questions that you have regarding the pandemic and its impact on custody or visitation orders.
You Should Strongly Consider Updating Your Estate Plan
If you don’t have a will, trust or power of attorney documents in place, the end of your marriage may motivate you to do so. If you have created a will or other plan documents, it is, generally, a good idea to review and change them as quickly as possible after your divorce becomes official.
This may allow you to name your children as beneficiaries of a life insurance policy or an IRA. It could also give you a chance to put a minor child’s inheritance in a trust that can be managed by a trusted friend, family member or attorney. Taking this step will help to ensure that money or other assets aren’t depleted before your child is old enough to take control of them.
Financial Help May Be Available
You might be entitled to spousal support in a final divorce settlement. Furthermore, you could get a share of a joint bank, brokerage or retirement account that was created during the marriage. If you are your son or daughter’s custodial parent, you might be entitled to child support payments. Tax credits or deductions may also be available if you are a son or daughter’s primary caretaker. Your friends or family members might also be willing to lend or gift you money to ensure that your basic needs are met.
If you have reason to believe that a divorce is in your future, consider reaching out to a New Jersey family law attorney. You can get in touch with us, Morgenstern & Rochester, in Cherry Hill by calling (856) 489-6200.