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Coronavirus can infect anyone. When it comes to symptoms, however, they are mild in the majority of cases. Only a few patients end up developing moderate or severe symptoms.

Unfortunately, the new strain of coronavirus doesn’t infect only people. The virus has infected the economy, our social lives, our relationships, and our general well-being. The negative effects of the pandemic are felt throughout society. The pandemic has a ripple effect and has affected married couples where they least expected. Marriages were affected, both when it comes to new and ongoing divorces.

But what are the underlying causes? The most apparent cause is the almost complete shutdown of the legal sector. Courthouses are still closed and they only receive emergency filings. All other work is either suspended or done via online platforms. All proceedings are delayed, including divorces, applications for custody, guardianship power of attorney, and temporary support. But what are the effects of these restrictions? How can lawyers for wills and estate help clients during this tough period? Let’s take a closer look:

#1 – The divorce proceedings were affected

Every divorce is, essentially, a lawsuit. Accordingly, it has to go through a court, which is a time-consuming process. This means that the divorce and all the related proceedings are closely related to how courthouses work. However, during this period courthouses across the country have reduced their activity or were completely shut down. Even after the restrictions were lifted, the activity was still reduced in many courts. This means that attorneys, litigants, and employees must adapt their schedules to the new restrictions.

Everything was affected by the pandemic, including:

– how petitions and motions are filed
– delays are common in trials and hearings
– how guardianship power of attorney documents are issued
– obtaining a prove-up to finalize a divorce is more difficult

Although some courts quickly adapted to the restrictions and activated online platforms to help litigants and attorneys, the system is not working perfectly. Many jurisdictions don’t have the necessary tools to make this online transition and the proceedings are slowed down.

What should you do?

Talk to your lawyers for wills and estate to learn more about the new rules and how they are affecting your divorce. Talk about changes in fees or schedules, as well as the effects on your post-divorce life. Use this extra time to organize your documents in order to have a smoother process after the restrictions are lifted.

#2 – The finances

Finances are a major aspect of any divorce. Couples often fight for physical assets (such as real estate), investment accounts, business interests, and retirement funds. Debt will complicate matters even more, especially if you are going through a difficult divorce. Your accounts will shrink significantly following a divorce – the key is to minimize this impact. However, the ongoing uncertainty caused by the pandemic will have negative effects on your finances. You will find it difficult to predict what anyone will end up having. Ideally, you should brace yourself for a significant period of low prices, especially in the real estate market and for your investments.

What should you do?

Find a good financial adviser and ask about possible options in order to reduce the negative effects of the pandemic. Negotiate with your spouse, if possible. Try to sell stocks and mutual funds that are going down and reinvest the money in safer alternatives, such as bonds. Make sure you have enough cash to cover your expenses if something disastrous happens and the economic downturn persists.

#3 – Your job

The ongoing pandemic had disastrous effects on the economy. More than 40 million Americans have lost their jobs in just 3 months, and the recovery will be slow. Although it’s impossible to predict how the job market will evolve in the next months, you should be prudent about the future. Even a small drop in family income, for instance, if your spouse loses his or her job, can have disastrous effects on the family’s financial well-being. The result will be horrendous for the divorce – the negotiations will become more problematic and the stress levels will reach new highs. In dramatic situations, financial problems will create unforeseen issues like access to health insurance or even short-term cash flow issues to pay basic utility bills.

What should you do?

Although the federal government has provided some relief, the sums are too small for families with small children or for those who are going through a difficult divorce. In order to reduce the impact of a job loss, try to work together with your spouse to have a sufficient household income. This will help you cover the bills during this period. Similarly, try to talk with your lawyers for wills and estate in order to reduce the legal fees. Another aspect to focus on is your children – try to make a guardianship power of attorney in order to offer financial protection for your children. Also, try to create the best resume you can and find a new job as soon as possible.

#4 – Your house

Many divorcing couples want to sell their house after the divorce is finalized. This is probably the largest financial transaction of their lives, and making the right decision is important. It’s a stressful moment for anyone going through a divorce, as there are a lot of financial and social implications – mortgage payments, real estate transaction fees, utility bills, upkeep costs, and tax issues. The pandemic has added a new layer, causing more problems for divorcing couples. The real estate market is uncertain, and selling a home is a difficult process during this period.

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