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Law Office of Gary R. Swavely, Jr. Blog

Monday, June 22, 2020

COVIDivorces Are On The Rise

If quarantining with your spouse has made you realize that it is time to end your marriage, you are not alone. Being cooped up with your family is like being trapped in a pressure cooker with no release valve. Nobody can leave the house for an extended period of time, finances are being stressed as the economy craters, and everyone is generally anxious about the virus.

At the Law Office of Gary R. Swavely, Jr., we are doing the best we can to help people in the Reading, PA area release some of the pressure they are feeling by helping them prepare for a post-COVID divorce.

Right now, the courts are moving very slowly, and there is a huge backlog of cases. This means getting a quickie divorce is not feasible. What we can and are helping our clients do is prepare to file for a smooth divorce as soon as it is possible to do so.

What does this mean?

First of all, this means beginning to separate your life from your spouse’s. While moving to a new home is not easy right now, it is possible. So is establishing separate bank accounts, and gathering up all the financial documents you will need to craft a separation agreement the court will approve.

We can also begin work on that separation agreement. Most of the action in a divorce case happens outside of the courthouse. There is nothing stopping us from beginning to negotiate a separation agreement that splits up your assets and debts, addresses spousal support, and if you have children, proposes a co-parenting plan. This way, when the courts are processing divorce petitions again, yours is ready to go.

Potential Roadblocks

Crafting an equitable separation agreement is a fairly straightforward process in normal times, but the coronavirus pandemic is making it a bit more difficult.

Over 30 million Americans have filed for unemployment during the pandemic, and the number only continues to grow. If you or your spouse has lost your job, or seen your earnings reduced because of the coronavirus, it is going to be challenging to craft a separation agreement that is fair. The courts don’t want to have to modify your agreement when your financial circumstances change in a few months, they want a plan that will work for years to come.

If you or your partner own multiple properties, or a small business, the value of those assets is probably being impacted by the pandemic. Even hiring a valuation expert cannot fully resolve disputes over correct valuation right now because there is so much uncertainty in the market.

Finally, it can be difficult to co-parent right now, especially if you and your partner have different views on the seriousness of the virus, or one or both of you are working in the healthcare industry and are at greater risk of being exposed to the virus.

All this is not to say that negotiating a divorce is impossible right now, just that it is more challenging than usual.

Fighting For The Results You Need

If you are contemplating a covidivorce, we are here to help. No matter how far along in the process you are, we can work with you to protect your interests and ensure that your divorce can be processed as soon as possible during this pandemic. Please contact our Reading, PA office to schedule an initial consultation.


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