Coronavirus and Divorce: Considerations During the Pandemic
The coronavirus continues to take its toll on the health of the American people and the economy. Thousands of people are dead, hundreds of thousands are ill and millions are out of work. In addition to the damage seen in the news every day, the virus and its fallout are impacting the legal system. Notably, it is complicating the divorce process, both for couples now going through it for those who may be contemplating a divorce in the near future.
These economic developments have great bearing on property division, which is usually a major part of divorce. Houses, 401ks, IRAs and other retirement accounts are among the most valuable assets that must be divided. Couples with significant net worth, in particular, typically have complex portfolios of equities and bonds outside of retirement accounts, which also need to be considered. It’s important to be mindful of these wild swings in asset values as you’re attempting to negotiate a property settlement. If possible, it may be best to hold off on finalizing anything until the markets regain some stability.
Property is just one of many divorce issues to think about. Medical coverage is another big concern. With millions losing their jobs and with them their health coverage, this is not the time to leave a family member uninsured. You and a former spouse cannot remain on each other’s health insurance plans, so one of you will probably need to obtain COBRA benefits, buy private health insurance or get on your employer’s health plan, if any.
Remember that while the two of you may no longer want to be a couple, your child still needs both of you to be parents. Divorcing parents must do their best to communicate during this pandemic regarding important issues like visitation arrangements, education needs and health care. The parent who does not maintain health insurance may want to obtain a qualified medical child support order, which tells the other parent’s insurance company to provide the non-insured parent with access to plan information, allowing both parents to be informed about the child’s health care.
Although the current public health crisis is making the already difficult divorce process even harder for many people, you are not alone. The Law Office of S. Mark Mitchell, LLC in Newnan is here to assist you in all aspects of divorce. Please call 470-344-8550 or contact us online to schedule a video conference or a phone call to discuss your situation.