Handling a Divorce During the COVID-19 Pandemic
As the U.S. continues to be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, many Ohio couples who have been forced to take shelter at home may be questioning the relationship they have with their spouse. The decision to divorce is never easy, and whether you're considering divorce or currently filing, here are some things to keep in mind.
How to Talk About Divorce with Your Spouse
Though there are many reasons why a married couple may divorce, you can try to sit down and talk through your thoughts with your spouse. You may not see eye-to-eye, but there may be a chance that your spouse can relate to how you're feeling.
If you've already talked about divorce, you may choose to talk about the expectations you'll have of each other once your divorce is finalized. This may include essential orders, such as child support, child custody, and asset division. This can help settle your case and avoid a legal battle in court.
Sharing Custody During the Pandemic
The holiday season is upon us, and it’s no surprise that the COVID-19 pandemic has created shifts for parents sharing custody of their children. No matter how difficult your divorce is, chances are that it will be even more difficult if you have children.
Keep reading for advice on how to share custody safely in light of these changes.
1. Be Flexible with Your Schedule
If you or your ex-spouse are essential workers, you may have less time to spend with your children — especially over the holidays. It’s critical to be understanding during this difficult time and allow your co-parent to see your children at another time.
2. Comply with Your Custody Order
The pandemic has proven challenging for everyone, but you must comply with your court orders as parents. Otherwise, you risk facing the consequences. Suppose an Ohio judge suspects that you are taking advantage of this situation to deny your co-parent visitation — in that case, your child custody order may be modified in your co-parent's favor.
3. Maintain the Same Health Protocols
In addition to keeping yourself healthy and safe, it’s essential to keep your child safe as well, no matter which household they’re in. Speak to your co-parent to arrange how you’ll talk to your child about what’s happening and explain why continued health measures are necessary.
4. Stay Up to Date on Your Child’s Changed School Schedule
Additionally, ensure that any changes to your child’s school day are supported in both households. Whether that’s a change in the days your child is at home versus physically in school, make sure to plan accordingly with your co-parent so you can both help your child learn virtually.
Modifying Your Child Custody Agreement
If you feel that your current visitation or child custody agreement no longer works with your current situation, you may try to come to a new deal with your co-parent. However, if this isn’t possible, you can dispute your Ohio agreement and request modifications in court. Ohio family courts are open for hearing cases regarding child custody modifications.
Modifications to child custody orders will be considered according to what the court feels is in the best interest of your child. Typically, the Ohio family court will only agree to a modification if a parent experiences one of the following significant life circumstances:
- A substantial increase or decrease in income.
- A parent relocates to an area out of the current custody order's jurisdiction.
- A party suffers a change in mental or physical health.
- A child's needs change.
- A parent is absent or unfit.
It's important to note that the affected parent must prove their situation in front of the court to consider a modification.
Spending the Holidays Apart
Continuing your holiday traditions amid a divorce may feel uncomfortable and may even feel impossible in light of COVID-19 restrictions. It may be best to spend some time apart so you can both enjoy the holiday season. However, parents have more to think about than just themselves — their children are also involved in these new plans.
Here are some tips to help with a joint holiday celebration:
- Be flexible with your co-parent.
- Discuss gift-giving ahead of time.
- Remember that holiday celebrations don’t have to occur on the calendar date.
Choosing Reliable Legal Advice
The pandemic has hit our city hard, and we're here to help. The Law Offices of LeeDaun C. Williams, LLC in Cleveland is here to help you resolve any issues that may come up during your divorce case. We offer all our clients clear and compassionate advice and guidance and will stop at nothing to ensure you obtain a positive outcome for your case.
Contact our team today to book your consultation by calling (216) 273-8001 or visiting us online.