Has COVID Had an Impact on Divorce in Illinois?
If you have decided to get a divorce in Schaumburg, IL, you are not alone. As couples are forced to spend time together under strict lockdown regulations, the Covid-19 pandemic has made divorce rates skyrocket to unprecedented levels. The pandemic also affected how courts handle these cases, but that doesn’t mean you should delay your divorce. If you are in an unhappy or dangerous marriage, there are certain things you can do to ensure your case is given due attention.
Divorce Proceedings During the Pandemic
If you are in an unhappy or dangerous marriage, there are certain things you can do to ensure your case is given the attention it deserves. Here is some information that can help:
Remote Court Hearings and Filings
You don’t have to go straight to trial to file for divorce in Illinois. Legal proceedings require paperwork that an experienced and competent divorce lawyer in Schaumburg can do for you. This can be done remotely, and you don’t have to visit a courthouse. However, you need to meet specific requirements before filing.
For one thing, one of the spouses must be an Illinois resident for at least 90 days before the filing, and the papers must be filed in their resident county. If you have children, they must be state residents for at least the last six months for appropriate filing.
Illinois is a no-fault state. This means you don’t have to say that your spouse had an affair, abused you, or any other misconduct. All you need to say is that your marriage broke down because of irreconcilable differences. If you and your spouse are not living together anymore and six months have passed during your separation, that is sufficient proof for marriage dissolution.
Once that is established, you must file a formal request with the circuit court in your district. As the petitioner, you will receive a court summons, and your spouse will also be present for the proceedings. The form is called a petition, which can be completed and filed remotely during the pandemic. It is a legal document that allows the county court the jurisdiction to hear your case and dissolve your marriage via a legal order.
It would be best if you worked with an experienced divorce lawyer in Schaumburg rather than a friend or family member during this time. The petition and other divorce documents contain highly sensitive information that can be misused. Your attorney will ensure these remain confidential and appropriate protocols are followed to prevent accidental disclosure.
Distribution of Stimulus Checks and Child Support
Couples have to consider how their stimulus checks are divided more than ever during the pandemic. Most couples jointly file taxes on an annual basis, so either can cash those checks. The amount is based on their combined incomes, W-2s, and more. Make sure you know where your check will be sent, so it doesn’t get lost in the pandemic frenzy.
Besides this, determine who will claim the minor child for tax deductions for upcoming years and the benefits you can expect under new stimulus relief bills. If you are visiting your children under supervision, ensure there is a supervision facility near you and find out their restrictions.
If you wish to take the kids on vacation and have limited time to do so, make sure you consider the quarantine period. Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you must complete two weeks in quarantine after your travels. It can prove problematic if they lose out on school or other activities with the other parent during that time.
Similarly, if you have to go out of state, you need to consider that your minor children will have to wait till you have out of quarantine when you return. Several schools have protested this mandatory period since they want to ensure that children stay with the same parent to reduce disruptions in their lives.
Spousal Support May Need Amendments
Illinois courts consider several factors when deciding whether or not spousal support should be provided. With the economy on the verge of a recession because of post-pandemic effects, those awards can be affected dramatically.
For example, if you provided spousal support and lost your job because the company went bankrupt because of low sales, you may have to petition the court for amendments to the divorce decree. If you don’t have a source of income, how will you make those payments on time? Determining your future earning capacity will also be difficult during these uncertain times. You won’t know what industries will rebound fast and which ones will tank as Covid-19 makes frequent appearances.
Co-Parenting Can Become Challenging
Court orders are mandatory. You cannot ignore a court summons even if stay-at-home orders are in place. It may be difficult, but at this time, you need to be flexible with your spouse. These are unprecedented times.
Most schools are teaching online – kids have to attend online classes through their laptops, and their activity levels and motivation to learn have dropped. You may be forced to make a difficult decision regarding their health if you have shared custody. This includes deciding whether your children should get vaccinated or tested for the virus.
At this time, a stubborn attitude will only worsen things, and your divorce will become more difficult for your children to handle. So if one of you is laid off because of the pandemic, consider adjusting schedules for their sake.
Alternatives to Divorce Trials
As mentioned, trial dates for divorce cases in Illinois are at a premium because of the pandemic. Even if your court date is due, the trial will probably be conducted via a Zoom call or via phone. If you wish to take care of specific issues beforehand and don’t want the divorce to be handled remotely, there are some alternatives you can consider:
Mediation is a popular method to resolve contentious divorce cases in the state. During one, a trained and neutral party aids both parties in the divorce to reach an agreement about specific issues. This can include decisions on parenting time and property division.
The mediator is a third party which means they don’t represent you or your ex-spouse and is not the same as arbitration. The latter involves the participation of a third party who resolves disputes in case agreements aren’t possible. A mediator, on the other hand, cannot impose their decisions on anyone.
There are several different types of mediation services. Some act as a bridge between both parties by relaying information from one to the other. Others evaluate each party’s circumstances and advise them on the best course or decision they can make. They can also give tentative insight into what they think a judge will say if they are asked to decide on specific issues.
In some cases, the mediator may meet with both parties to preside over a face-to-face meeting or a video conference remotely.
Besides mediation, you may also consider using a collaborative law process during divorce proceedings. This is mediation, but it does not require a mediator, and both parties retain their attorneys trained to aid each other in reaching agreements. The logic is that each side’s divorce lawyer in Schaumburg can work together to resolve disputes and unique challenges that can otherwise result in a lengthy court battle.
If either you or your ex decides to withdraw from a collaborative law arrangement, your attorneys have to. They cannot use the process as a strategy to get an advantage over one another during possible litigation.
Contact The Law Office Of Fedor Kozlov, P.C For A Divorce Consultation Today!
If you are in an unhappy or abusive marriage and it is ruining your life and your children’s mental health, take action now. Otherwise, the damage can be too extensive to reverse down the line. Can you afford to wait?
The Covid-19 pandemic is not going away anytime soon. Since it has become a regular part of life, delaying essential decisions such as divorce can do more harm than good. If you wish to get a divorce or want guidance on the paperwork or arrangements required during stay-at-home orders, book a consultation at the Law Office of Fedor Kozlov, P.C.
We understand that you are going through a difficult phase in your life and are here to help you in any way we can to streamline the divorce process. Ensure your family has a stable future with our aid. We understand that stress and anxiety are perfectly normal during such times and will make the process as simple as possible for you.
This includes conducting meetings remotely as the pandemic rages on. Your safety is one of our main priorities, and we will accommodate you and your loved ones in any way possible. Our success is based on our skills and friendly approach to our clients, most of whom come to us distraught and confused as they contemplate divorce.
Besides divorce, we have aided clients in other types of family legal cases, which we will be more than happy to reference during a meeting. Contact us for a consultation by dialing (847) 241-1299.