covid affects divorce proceedings in Alabama

How COVID Is Still Complicating Divorce Proceedings

Over two years ago, we started two weeks to stop the spread. Here we are, years later, and COVID-19 is still throwing courts across the country into upheaval. If you’re in the midst of a divorce or you co-parent with a past partner, you’ve likely dealt with some of these issues head-on.

Not sure how to come to an agreement on COVID-19 issues with your ex-partner? It’s time to talk to our team of Daphne family law attorneys. Call Coumanis & York now—reach our Daphne office at 251-990-3083 or our Mobile office at 251-431-7272.

Debates About the Pandemic

Many of the family law issues plaguing people across the country relate directly to co-parenting. Views on COVID-19 are very diverse and the topic itself is highly polarizing. If you have two parents with opposite beliefs about and approaches to the pandemic, it’s easy to see how this could lead to legal issues.

Safety is a big concern for many parents. If one parent considers themselves COVID-cautious and the other takes a more lax approach to the virus, the first parent may be unwilling to send their child for scheduled parenting time. In general, courts across the country have not allowed parents to do this. While they may understand a parent’s fear of COVID-19, most have not found that it’s a legitimate reason to deny parenting time.

The COVID-cautious parent may want the other parent to keep the child masked when they are out in public or limit public outings. If the other parent is unwilling to oblige, it’s easy to reach an impasse. However, consider the current court backlog. Cases were delayed for months or even years due to the COVID shutdown. A legal motion filed now could still mean waiting weeks or months for a court date. In the meantime, the parents’ issues continue to impact their co-parenting relationship.

Financial Difficulties

Financial challenges have hit many families hard during the pandemic. These problems are compounded when you add in child support and alimony. If a paying parent loses hours or completely loses their job during the pandemic, they may be unable to pay or may have to pay a lower amount. If the other parent is also facing their own financial struggles, this could turn into a contentious issue.

You may see an uptick in court cases where one party who receives child support or alimony alleges that the other party is withholding financial support. You may also see an increase in child support or alimony modification filings. As the economy readjusts and people return to their previous positions, these issues may die down. The damage to the co-parenting relationship, however, may remain.

Relocation

Relocation is a hot topic right now. The labor market was hit incredibly hard by COVID-19, and a record-setting amount of people lost their jobs. Some areas were hit harder than others, forcing some to look outside the state for work in their field. This has led to a growing number of custodial parents requesting permission to relocate, despite the other parent’s objections.

However, if the only work the custodial parent can find is in another state, can they truly be forced to stay in an area where they have no career prospects? There are few answers that benefit everyone involved.

No Timeline for Resolutions

Again, the court backlog is a lingering issue. No matter how pressing an issue may seem, be prepared to wait when you petition the court.  Your attorney can give you a more detailed timeline, but quick answers are hard to find right now. Court timelines may return to normal as we adjust to our new normal in the post-COVID-19 world.

Get the Help You Need with Coumanis & York

Whether you’re struggling to find help with your divorce, address issues with custody, or handle other family law needs, it’s time to talk to the team at Coumanis & York. You can set up a consultation at our Daphne office by calling 251-990-3083 or at our Mobile office by calling 251-431-7272. Otherwise, reach out online to set up a meeting where we can further discuss your needs.

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