COVID-19 is going to continue to spread, and for the foreseeable future, we’ll all have to limit how much time we spend in public and with other people. These rules are for our safety, but they are inconvenient. Sheltering in place is forcing a lot of people to make tough decisions, including whether or not to stay in an unhealthy marriage or move forward with a separation and divorce.
The coronavirus has undoubtedly changed how things work. But if you need to pursue a divorce right now, you can. DeBruin Law PLLC can help you navigate the Michigan family court system and use virtual technology to get a divorce. Contact DeBruin Law PLLC through our online form or call (517) 324-4303.
You Can Prepare for Divorce Right Now
If you’re considering divorce, or you think your spouse might file soon, we recommend you prepare by:
- Tightening your budget and saving money
- Gathering financial and tax documents
- Documenting your and your spouse’s spending
- Calculating your future budget on a single income
- Gathering information on independently and jointly owned property
- Documenting how you and your spouse divide childcare responsibilities
- Considering your “must-haves” vs. “wants”
- Hiring a divorce attorney
Schedule a Video Consultation
Hiring a lawyer is challenging enough without being able to go to someone’s office and shake their hand. But to abide by Michigan’s strict stay-at-home order, DeBruin Law PLLC is holding consultations over the phone or through video conferencing. There’s plenty of time to get to know attorney Tiffany DeBruin and learn why she’s the right divorce attorney for you.
Michigan Courts During COVID-19
Michigan courts are open, though on a limited basis. If you need to pursue an emergency child custody or a domestic violence protective order, the courts will hear your matter.
We Can File Your Divorce Complaint Electronically
Under the Michigan Supreme Court’s Administrative Order No. 2020-2, courts can receive electronic filing and service via email and fax through April 30, 2020. The Supreme Court might extend this period. If now is the time to move forward with a divorce, then we will file the divorce complaint electronically.
Don’t Expect to Go to Court in Person
Under the Michigan Supreme Court’s order, courts can conduct only certain types of emergency and essential hearings in person in April. For all other family matters, your hearings will be delayed after April (or longer), or we’ll use remote, two-way video conferencing.
Serving Your Spouse Divorce Papers
Various complications are going to come up when you try to divorce during the COVID-19 pandemic. One of those complications is properly serving your spouse the divorce complaint and summons to court.
If you and your spouse agree to the divorce, the easiest manner of service is to physically hand the paperwork to the other party and have them sign an acknowledgement of service indicating that they received the documents. This can be done while observing best health and safety practices, like wearing gloves and a mask in public. Your lawyer will walk you through serving your spouse properly during the coronavirus crisis.
We Can Use Video Conferencing for Mediation
A divorce doesn’t have to play out in court. Now, more than ever, mediation is appropriate for spouses who need to navigate divorce at a physical distance from each other, their attorneys, and others. Mediation is an out-of-court process where you and your spouse, under the supervision of a neutral third party, negotiate the terms of your divorce.
Many couples go through mediation to decide matters like the:
- Which property is individually owned or part of the marital estate
- The equitable division of marital property and debts
- Who remains in the family home
- Who keeps the family pet
- Whether alimony is appropriate, and if so, how much for how long
- A child custody and visitation that considers social distancing, homeschooling, and childcare
- Child support
- Who claims the children as dependents on taxes
- Who provides the children with health insurance
We can schedule video mediation sessions with your spouse and mediator. Each party can stay safe in their own home and meet virtually at the most convenient time. With virtual mediation, we aren’t restricted by business hours. Everyone involved is juggling work and family commitments, and scheduling a call on a weekend or evening might be most convenient. Virtual mediation enables you and your husband or wife to move the divorce forward, even during such a challenging time.
Consider How Social Distancing Impacts Parenting Time
One of the most significant issues with pursuing a divorce right now is figuring out how both parents and the children can spend time together while social distancing. The child custody schedule you agree to right now needs to factor in safe practices. It might not worry you, if you and your child’s other parent maintain safe, isolated households. Also, you and your spouse can agree to alter the child custody agreement when strict social distancing is no longer needed.
Let DeBruin Law PLLC Help You Get Divorced During COVID-19
There’s no perfect time to get divorced. There will always be obstacles and inconveniences to overcome. The coronavirus might seem like too big of a hurdle, but it’s not. Tiffany DeBruin will help you navigate your divorce under these unique circumstances. Contact DeBruin Law PLLC today at (517) 324-4303 or schedule a virtual consultation by submitting your information through the online form.