Considerations for Filing for Divorce During a Pandemic

Every year, hundreds of thousands of people file for divorce in the United States. The stress of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, stay-at-home orders and working from home is putting a lot of stress on married people. If you had planned to start divorce proceedings only to have COVID-19 get in the way, here’s what you need to know about deciding to get the process started now.

Put Your Safety and Well-being First

If your safety is at risk, our New Jersey family law attorney may recommend that you leave the situation and file for divorce as soon as possible. Stress and poor coping skills during the COVID-19 pandemic have increased the rates of substance abuse, depression and anxiety. If your partner is violent or threatens you, these are some reasons to move forward with your plan to start divorce proceedings.

Consider Your Current Income

If you’re currently out of work because of COVID-19-related shutdowns, you might be depending on your spouse’s income and his or her ability to pay for your basic costs of living. You may be unsure of whether or not you can afford a divorce. You may also wonder how you’ll pay for your basic living expenses, especially if you’re not eligible for unemployment. Our New Jersey family law attorney can explain the costs of a divorce to you so that you can make an informed decision about how a divorce now would affect your personal finances.

Evaluate Your Risk of Infection

Think about your risk of COVID-19 infection. Rates are on the rise in most of the United States, including New Jersey. Public health officials expect this trend to continue throughout the winter. If you’ve already had COVID-19, keep in mind that antibodies may only last for a few months. This puts you at risk of getting infected again. If you get infected with COVID-19, you may have to request delays from the court. You may also be unable to attend key hearings and meetings related to your case. If you’ve recently recovered from COVID-19, your immunity should last for long enough to start proceedings and keep you protected so long as the courts are open and processing cases in a timely manner.

Find Out If You Can Get Health Insurance

If you’re currently covered by your spouse’s health insurance, you’ll need to figure out if you can get coverage on your own. People who are self-employed or laid off may qualify for Medicaid. Those who don’t may need to purchase health insurance on one of the public exchanges. Keep in mind that the Supreme Court will be hearing challenges to the Affordable Care Act in the upcoming term, and a COVID-19 infection is considered to be a pre-existing condition. If the court rules the Affordable Care Act to be unconstitutional, your protection from pre-existing conditions will go away if you have to get your own health insurance plan.

Think About Your Future Finances

If you’re married to a compulsive shopper, separating yourself from him or her financially as soon as possible is important to your own fiscal health. If your spouse earns a lot more than you or if you’ll be eligible for spousal or child support, it’s a good idea to speak with an attorney. You’ll need to know how much your support is likely to be so that you can make a wise decision.

If you’re tired of waiting to file, our New Jersey family law attorney is prepared to speak with you about your situation. We offer consultations so that you can learn about the process and your rights. Call our Cherry Hill attorneys today at (856) 489-6200 to schedule an appointment or complete our online form to request a consultation.