How to Get a Divorce During COVID-19
The coronavirus is affecting every area of our lives, including marriages. If you are thinking of ending your marriage during this pandemic, you might be wondering how to get a divorce during COVID-19. You might wonder if it is even possible with stay-at-home orders in place. The good news is that some steps in the process can be handled online, such as filling out initial forms. And courts are still operating, but on a more limited basis. You can also consult with a divorce attorney over the phone or online who can advise you about dissolving your marriage during coronavirus, based on your unique situation.
Our experienced Illinois divorce lawyers at Wolfe & Stec are operating on a normal schedule and are meeting with clients both by phone and online. We continue to be readily available to help clients with all elements of divorce, including filings, child custody and child support issues. We know that this is an especially difficult time for people who are having marital problems. The additional stresses from the virus can compound already tense situations. Speaking with a skilled attorney who understands how to get a divorce during COVID-19 can relieve your anxiety and help you successfully move on with your life.
Getting a Divorce During Coronavirus Pandemic
While there may be more uncertainty in the divorce process right now because of the virus, starting the process is still relatively straightforward. Initial filing forms, including the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, are available at the Illinois courts website. Depending upon what county you live in, what type of divorce you are seeking and whether you have minor children, there may be different or additional forms to fill out.
Getting a divorce during the coronavirus pandemic may take longer than it would under normal circumstances, especially if your divorce requires that you go to court. While Illinois courts are trying to operate as efficiently as they can during COVID-19, it isn’t business as usual. Courts are much more limited in their operations.
As one example, the 18th Circuit Court in DuPage County has rescheduled many court dates. But it remains open for essential business on a limited basis. Whenever possible it is using telephone and video conferencing to conduct proceedings. You can check court operations for different counties during coronavirus at Illinoiscourts.gov.
Some courts are open for emergencies only and in some instances, family law emergencies are being heard remotely. Some cases that were already scheduled to be heard during this time period have been moved out several weeks beyond the current shelter-in-place end date. The order is currently in place through the end of May. That means that once the order is lifted, there will be a backlog of postponed cases to get through before new ones are heard.
Can I Get a Divorce During COVID-19?
As stated before, you can start the divorce process during COVID-19. Your unique circumstances and what kind of divorce you are seeking will determine how long it might take. For example, if your divorce does not require you to go to trial, such as in a simplified divorce, then you will probably not be as impacted by the restricted operations at the courts. If you must physically go in front of a judge, getting a divorce may take longer than in normal times.
If you have previously filed for divorce or you have related matters already pending in the legal system, the courts are trying to move those cases forward as best they can during COVID-19. In some cases, final hearings in divorce proceedings may be heard remotely during this time. Your attorney can advise you whether that might apply to your divorce case.
People who share custody of children and are already in the process of divorce or are divorced should know that co-parenting agreements are still in effect. It can be hard right now to share custody and have children change households with fears of the virus. In some cases, one parent might not get the parenting time they are entitled to if the other parent is fearful of the virus and doesn’t allow the child to change homes. Or a parent might seek to use the situation to not allow the other parent their time with children. Some people may need legal help with child custody in these situations.
Rise in Domestic Violence Cases During Coronavirus
Unfortunately, along with the coronavirus pandemic has come a rise in domestic violence cases throughout the country, including in Illinois. Tensions from lost income and being confined in close quarters because of stay-at-home orders is adding additional stress to relationships that may already be problematic. Even previously good relationships may be tested.
If you are in a domestic violence situation, you can contact the Illinois Domestic Violence Hotline for help at (877) 863-6338. You can also call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at (800) 799-7233. These hotlines provide support, referrals to emergency shelters and a variety of other domestic violence resources.
If you are in immediate danger, call 911.
Domestic violence often leads to divorce. But serving an abuser with divorce papers can make the entire situation even more dangerous. If you need protection while seeking a divorce, Wolfe & Stec can help you get the resources you need. If you have any questions at all or need support, please reach out to our experienced family law firm.
We Can Advise You About Getting a Divorce During the Coronavirus Pandemic
Divorce is never easy. During coronavirus it can be exponentially more difficult. Our compassionate divorce attorneys at Wolfe & Stec, Ltd. In Illinois can help. We have in-depth understanding of Illinois family law. Our attorneys have upheld the interests of thousands of clients in divorce cases. We assist clients in child custody disputes and those who are seeking child support. We can help you too. Call our experienced divorce lawyers at (630) 305-0222 for a free consultation. We serve clients in Woodridge, throughout DuPage County and the surrounding counties as well as the greater Chicago area.”