For couples who might have been on the fence about getting a divorce, the stay-at-home orders caused by COVID-19 have made it very clear to some of them that a split is necessary and unavoidable. Now, the biggest question is: Can you get a Michigan divorce during a pandemic?
Technology Is Your Friend
As much as it might feel like your divorce is an emergency, to the courts it is not. Most courthouses are closed right now except for emergencies. You can expect delays regarding everything from applications for interim child support to matters involving child custody. This is especially frustrating if your parenting time is being negatively affected by the coronavirus.
Don’t get your hopes up, but there are courts that are making it possible for some divorce documents to be e-filed. In certain jurisdictions, there is even an opportunity to video conference with the judge in your divorce case. This kind of communication typically only works for straightforward, amicable divorces, and, of course, the technologically advanced courts.
Look for Alternatives
There are matters in your split that can move forward even if courthouses are closed, your case isn’t being heard, and your motions can’t be filed. It just might not happen in any traditional way. Enter: divorce mediation and divorce arbitration.
- Divorce mediation: Mediation is considered an alternative to the conventional court process. You’ll need to be in a good place with your ex, have similar ideas about settlement, and be willing to work together fairly to make this a successful choice for your marriage’s end. Because the environment is informal in mediation anyway, this is something that won’t feel too odd happening over Zoom or FaceTime.
Mediation should be done in conjunction with the advice of a good Michigan divorce lawyer. If you’re impatient about a stalled divorce, opting for mediation while you wait for courts to be ready for you can make you feel like you’re making progress on your divorce.
- Divorce arbitration: In divorce arbitration, you get to pick the venue anyway – so virtual it shall be. This alternative dispute resolution can be helpful and cost-effective when the couple agrees that the arbitrator’s judgment will be the final word on a difficult-to-settle matter, whether you’re drawing up a custody agreement, parenting schedule, or otherwise.
You’ll want to talk to your attorney about the rules in your jurisdiction and what delays in your proceedings might mean for you now during COVID-19 and after, whenever that may be. You could potentially save yourself money and fees by giving serious thought to arbitration and all its benefits.
Get a Michigan Divorce Lawyer During COVID-19
Life as we know it has changed. If you were in the middle of a divorce, you’re undoubtedly feeling like you’re in limbo. No matter what stage of divorce you’re in – even if you haven’t filed yet – changing finances, job losses, and difficulty finding housing will all impact the road ahead.
If you’re new to your “I want a divorce” decision, the first thing to do is find a Michigan divorce lawyer. This you can do through phone meetings or video chats. Divorce lawyers are still working, even though they’re not doing so face-to-face. Contact the family law attorneys at Femminineo Attorneys in Macomb, MI, to discuss your situation today.