4 Things You Can Do to Speed Up Your Divorce During the Coronavirus Pandemic
If you were contemplating divorce before the coronavirus crisis hit or are in the midst of one, you are probably frustrated by the fact that the pandemic stalled your divorce case. As the pandemic paralyzed Florida’s court system, many Floridians who are considering filing for divorce or are already involved in divorce proceedings believe that there is nothing they can do to help their case move forward.
However, there are actually several things you can do while you wait. Yes, the pandemic may delay obtaining a divorce decree, but there’s so much you can do to speed up your case.
How to Speed Up Your Divorce During the Pandemic?
While many courts in Florida allow you to file divorce papers online, there are a number of things you can do to help your case while waiting to finalize your divorce during the coronavirus pandemic.
Gather financial documents. Collecting financial documents and getting divorced are practically synonymous. The coronavirus pandemic and Florida’s stay-at-home order cannot prevent you from gathering your financial documents for your divorce. In fact, this is something that you would have to do when filing for divorce anyway, so use the time to collect both personal records and financial documents, including but not limited to:
- Tax returns for you and your spouse for the past three years;
- Pay stubs for you and your spouse (you need this to determine the appropriate amount of child support and alimony);
- Mortgage statements;
- Brokerage account statements;
- Statements for any retirement accounts;
- Bank statements;
- Appraisals of real estate and property;
- Information about debt (joint and separate);
- Insurance policies (life, health, auto, and homeowner’s policies); and
- Credit card statements (among other documents).
Talk to your attorney. Despite court closures, it is imperative to communicate with your attorney and hold negotiations with your spouse’s lawyer either via a telephone or videoconferencing. As you wait for the pandemic to end, use this time to resolve your disputes with your soon-to-be-ex-spouse (for instance, if you cannot reach a consensus on child custody or a parenting plan, try holding online, 4-way negotiations involving you, your spouse, and your attorneys to find a workable solution).
Check your joint bank and credit card balances. Technically, you are still married, so if you have joint bank or credit card accounts, check these balances regularly during the coronavirus pandemic. Under Florida’s family law, your joint assets and debts will be split between you and your spouse in the course of divorce proceedings. Make sure that your soon-to-be-former-spouse does not take on new debt during these difficult economic times.
Create a plan for once your divorce case is finalized. While your job and other circumstances might be up in the air due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is still imperative to develop a plan for your future, post-divorce life. For instance, if you have children, make a plan for how parenting responsibilities will be divided. If you are the dependent spouse, determine the amount of spousal support you will request from the higher-earning spouse.
Speak with our Orlando divorce attorneys to discuss your case during the coronavirus pandemic. Our lawyers may be able to speed up your divorce case while you – like everyone else in Florida – are required to stay at home. Call at 407-521-7171 to receive a consultation.