When Americans first heard of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in China, they probably had no idea how their lives were about to change dramatically. By mid-March of 2020, things started to shift. President Donald Trump declared a national emergency. Schools closed. Gyms closed. Concerts and sporting events were canceled. “Non-essential” businesses closed their doors, and employees were laid off or sent home to work. Even nail and hair salons shut down operations.
In every sense, our lives have been impacted by the coronavirus. It’s penetrated our personal and professional lives and our families are no exception. As a divorce law firm, we’ve seen first-hand how COVID-19 has spilled over into our practice and we anticipate the family courts to see it as soon as they resume normal operations. That being said, here are the three main ways that COVID-19 has affected family law matters:
- Divorce: Normally, couples can have time and space apart as they go about their daily lives separately. But when couples are forced to stay in the same house together, emotions can run high and they can get sick of each other. Isolation combined with one or two spouses losing their jobs and kids running around, some Californians will be rushing to the courthouse to file for divorce when stay-at-home restrictions are lifted.
- Child Custody: All of the uncertainty of COVID-19 can throw a wrench into child custody schedules. While there are parents who have accommodated each other with ease, some parents who don’t get along or see eye-to-eye are having a very difficult time coping during the pandemic – a situation that’s only worsened by court closures. Many of them have already called their attorneys asking about initiating modifications.
- Child Support: Millions of Americans have lost their jobs. If a noncustodial parent can’t afford child support because they were laid off or their business shut down, they can fall behind on child support and be subject to a host of negative enforcement efforts by their local child support agency. And for receiving parents who rely on child support, non-payment can place a great deal of strain on their finances as well.
If COVID-19 has raised concerns over divorce, child custody, or child support and you need legal assistance, don’t hesitate to contact Arnold Law Group, APC for assistance.