As the world remains in isolation during this unprecedented crisis, many regular processes have come to a grinding halt. And while that may include most family law firms, our team continues to work to assist our clients in every way we can. Though you may be unable to execute your plans, whether they involve filing for divorce or securing alimony in court, you are not unable to work toward your goals.
In times like this, we understand that nothing feels more important than the support and presence of family. The last thing you want to focus on is a situation that negates that. While it may be frustrating not to move forward with your plans, we are ready to help you use this extra time at home to enact a new plan of action that will streamline the processes you are facing.
While life and law are indefinitely on hold, try these time-saving tips to prepare for a faster resolution to your situation when lockdown ends.
- Prepare necessary documentation.
Legal work is basically a synonym for paperwork. Don’t stress, though, because you finally have time to go through that old box of financials and personal documents. The documents that you might need include divorce forms, tax returns, bank statements, proof of income, mortgage statements, utility bills, loan documents, and prenuptial agreements (if you have one, that is — if you don’t, need one? We can help there, too.) Any other documents that help demonstrate the financial and marital conditions of you and your spouse would be useful to find and organize so you are prepared to present them to the courts when the time comes. Please understand that this is by no means an exhaustive list, and the required documents may vary depending on your situation — do not hesitate to consult with us by calling (201) 947-1500.
- Prepare a Budget.
Preparing your financial documents isn’t the only economic task you should consider. To best prepare for the future, formulate a budget for yourself. Not only is this a good practice for getting a handle on your finances during this challenging economic time, but it will help provide a foundation for your life as an individual after the virus (and marital) lockdown. If you are seeking child support, and/or alimony this is an essential step toward securing it.
- Establish independence.
If you are working towards a divorce, you are working towards reclaiming your life as a self-sufficient individual. If you are able to do so online, open your own bank account or line of credit if you are currently without one. You also may need to start reclaiming personal possessions that became shared as a result of your marriage. Catalogue your own valuables by taking photos and/or keeping a log of each item. Work with your spouse, if possible, to start a list of what’s yours and what’s theirs as you approach the separation. Remember, this can get messy. To ensure a smooth process, establish a clear set of priorities in regard to your property and your independence. If you need assistance with mediation and working towards a compromise, we are here for you.
- Work on an ideal custody schedule.
One of the most stressful and critical aspects of a divorce involving parental spouses is establishing custody after divorce. In these kinds of situations, everyone is working with the child(ren)’s best interest at heart. Though it is likely that you are faced with uncertainty in terms of your job and other responsibilities right now, consider what an ideal custody and parenting time schedule might look like for you if you are planning to share custody with or allow visitation time to your spouse.
- Search for a new living situation.
Part of reclaiming your independence and starting fresh includes finding your own space. Make this a fun activity! Browse online for new apartments and dream about what you’re looking for in a location that you can make entirely your own. Consider the variables that might affect how you live, including needing temporary or permanent space for a child. Go back to your budget that you worked through in step 2 and understand what kinds of locations are within your range. Consult with your spouse about how far you are each willing to travel if you children are involved.
The COVID-19 outbreak has thrown us all for a loop. This is a high-stress time full of uncertainty. However, it won’t last forever. You will get back to your life, and you will be able to move forward with your plans. The best thing you can use your spare time at home for is to prepare for those plans and ensure an easier time after quarantine.
Remember: You are not alone in this. Our partners at RB&Y Law are here at home too, but we’re still working to help you prepare for the future. Contact us with any questions you may have about how to move forward and visit our blog for more information on unique family law situations. Have you been watching any movies while at home? Why not give our recent post about Netflix’s Marriage Story and it’s perspective on divorce law a read? Stay home and stay strong.