In lieu of the courts closed due to the coronavirus, things can get pretty ugly at home. Couples fight, children are caught in the middle, things are thrown and broken and many just can’t take it anymore. They’re desperate to put an end to their marriage, but COVID-19 has made it almost impossible for them to get out. With the only exception being an emergency situation, all courts throughout Illinois still remain closed for in-person hearings with no reopening date in sight.
On the other hand, amends are being made to hold cases over Zoom, known as a virtual divorce. There are several pros and cons to this new norm, and most actually favor this trend compared to the olden days. While right now we may not have much of a choice, a virtual divorce can be the new ticket to freedom.
How to File for Divorce
The Illinois Supreme Court has downloadable forms to start the divorce process and offers different options for couples with and without children. They also have documents available that explain how to get a divorce, parenting plans, and more, according to each couples’ situation.
While these documents explain how to file for divorce, it is highly recommended to work with a divorce attorney to fight for your assets and parenting time with your children (if involved). A divorce attorney can also walk you through the process, helping you to find the solution that works in your best interest.
After filing for divorce, the judge will decide if the case will go to virtual court. Although it is rumored virtual divorce rates may increase with shelter in place orders.
Pros of a virtual divorce:
You don’t have to dress up
If you were planning on having a suit and tie or dress dry cleaned for your court hearings, you can take that one off the list. Although you may want to wear a nice shirt and fix up your hair and makeup since the video calls will show your face.
You don’t have to drive and/or sit in traffic
Forget about waking up extra early in the morning, sitting in traffic for an hour, and paying the parking fee just to make the 7:30 court hearing. Although you still want to go to bed at a reasonable hour and wake up an hour or two before the scheduled time to make sure you’re prepared.
You may want to review the documents and process with a divorce attorney to know what to expect since they won’t be sitting next to you in court.
You don’t have to be near your ex-spouse
Although you may never want to see them again, at least you don’t have to be in the same room. They can be clear across the country and you will only have to deal with them through a screen.
Cons of a virtual divorce
You can’t speak to your attorney in private during the hearing
For the sake of social distancing, you probably won’t be sitting next to your attorney, especially if you’re at home. So you won’t be able to talk quietly with them or ask a question during the meeting; everyone will be able to hear everything through a Zoom conference.
You may have technical issues
Despite the rising trend in popularity for Zoom, no software is perfect. The program may crash if it’s not compliant with someone’s computer, they may lose internet, or may not even find the link to join. Anything can happen during a virtual divorce that can make it frustrating for everyone and put a delay in the divorce hearing.
Tips for Couples Wanting a Divorce During a Pandemic
- Avoid making decisions during a pandemic. While couples may feel suffocated being at home with their spouse in the middle of a pandemic, experts highly recommend avoiding making big decisions at this time. Despite everyone calling this the “new normal”, things will eventually go back to the way they were, thus, couples should not make decisions based on their current situation.
- Always communicate. Despite the difficulties and stress couples are facing, they must communicate with each other. Once a divorce is filed, there’s no guarantee a virtual hearing will be made, so now it’s more important than ever to try to resolve problems at home.
- Speak with a divorce attorney. If it’s not possible to come to a mutual agreement with your spouse, talk to a divorce attorney. They may have some recommendations as to how to ease the stress. Those who are experienced often have good solutions.
When Virtual Divorces are Not Possible
After speaking with your divorce attorney and you both agree the divorce must be held in person, despite being told to have one through Zoom, it will have to be put on hold. Except for emergencies, there is still no date in which in-person divorce hearings will resume.
In the meantime, it’s recommended to either work out the issue at home, or “take a break” from your spouse. Focus on your own life with your kids as much as possible while reminding yourself this is only a temporary solution.
Work with an Experienced Divorce Attorney
If you’re looking for an experienced divorce lawyer in the northwest Chicago suburbs who stays current on all divorce laws, Allen Gabe Law P.C. can certainly help. Not only is Allen aware of the impact COVID-19 has made on divorce cases, but he is working with clients to establish custom solutions to help clients through their divorces.
Allen Gabe Law P.C. has experience in diverse cases, including child custody and visitation, maintenance, support issues, alimony and more. He has worked with many clients with unique needs to accelerate the process while protecting clients and their children to establish a solution that works in their best interest.
Get a Free Consultation
Allen Gabe Law P.C. is available in the Schaumburg, IL area at 847-241-5000 ext. 121 to schedule free consultations regarding divorce cases. Give our office a call today to get started with your divorce.