The COVID-19 pandemic has affected our lives and the world in so many ways. You have likely begun wearing a mask when you go to the grocery store and keeping hand sanitizer in your car. The pandemic has also upended our daily routines. You may be working from home, and your children may be attending school remotely. We watched last spring as people hoarded toilet paper and stocked up on canned food.
With cases rising again this fall and health experts warning of a difficult winter, especially now that flu season is here as well, you may be wondering how to best prepare. The pandemic caught most of us off-guard in the spring, but, with warning, you can prepare for another lockdown. The lockdown last spring pushed a lot of relationships to the breaking point.
If you have realized that your relationship is running on borrowed time, now may be the time to file for divorce (a dissolution of marriage). Colorado is a no-fault divorce state. To divorce in Colorado, you or your spouse will need to state that your marriage is irretrievably broken. The court will not take into account marital wrongdoing, such as infidelity. The court will determine whether spousal maintenance (alimony) is appropriate for your case and will divide marital assets. If you have children, the court will handle those issues during a divorce proceeding as well.
If you are not married but share children with your significant other, you should consider filing an allocation of parental responsibilities case (child custody). When a relationship ends, even if you and your significant other weren’t married, the court can intervene and help determine the best interests of your child. The court will determine issues like parenting time and child support.
Similarly, if you’ve had a change in circumstances – for instance, you’ve lost a job and your financial situation has changed – you should consider filing a post-decree modification case. The court may modify orders affecting allocation of parental responsibilities (child custody), child support, and maintenance (alimony) based on changes in income and employment.
If you are considering filing a case like those mentioned above, it’s best to consult with an attorney. Your attorney will be able to tell you what to expect and can explain any special procedures and precautions that might be in place because of the pandemic.
Most court proceedings have moved to online systems. You may attend hearings via Webex or mediation via Zoom or phone. Circumstances may change rapidly during the pandemic, so it is hard to predict what the future will look like. Your attorney may arrange for you to attend remote hearings from your home or from our office. If your attorney asks you to come into the office, you can expect to wear a mask and have your temperature taken. We also practice careful social distancing and sanitation procedures.
During these changing times, it’s hard to know what to expect, but our office can help you navigate through your divorce or child custody proceeding during these trying times.