COVID-19 and Your Las Vegas Divorce Case
If you are in the middle of a divorce case, or if you were gearing up to file for divorce, the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has likely affected your plans. In Las Vegas, divorce cases are still proceeding through the family courts, but there are important changes to take note of. Read on to learn about some of the principal ways in which COVID-19 is likely to affect your divorce proceeding.
Some Court Delays and Remote Participation
One of the primary effects of the pandemic has been the closure of businesses in order to fight the spread. Except for trials, Clark County family courts are generally closed for in-person proceedings, and some hearings and deadlines (motion filing, discovery, etc.) have extensions. And even many divorce trials have been pushed back on the court’s calendar. The family courts are using remote access through BlueJeans videoconferencing software for nonessential matters such as standard court hearings. The family court judge in your divorce matter has likely issued orders concerning the scheduling of future events in your case. So your Las Vegas divorce attorney will communicate to you on how your case will proceed. Our office will also assist you with BlueJeans so you can participate in all court hearings as necessary.
Outside of the courtroom, you can still communicate with your divorce attorney remotely via video conferencing tools such as Zoom or FaceTime. Likewise, mediation, arbitration, and settlement negotiations can also be held remotely. Discuss the matter with your divorce lawyer to explore how best to keep your case moving in light of the changing environment.
We discuss the economics of divorce during the COVID-19 pandemic more fully in another post. Briefly, it is important to take stock of how the pandemic has affected the economic calculations involved in your divorce. If your divorce involves the distribution of assets such as business ownership, stocks, and real estate, the pandemic might affect your property’s value. Always discuss with your attorney whether an updated valuation is appropriate in light of the current circumstances.
Additionally, if you or your future ex-spouse has had a significant change in income or expenses due to the pandemic, such as job loss or furlough, business closures, medical expenses, this change may affect calculations of child support and alimony, both temporary and permanent. Income changes might also affect your division of property. For example, one party may have a different view on whether they can afford to buy out the house or keep up with a mortgage and property taxes.
Child Custody and Visitation
The pandemic has everyone on edge, rightfully so, about the spread of COVID-19. If one spouse has symptoms of the virus, or if they work in a high-risk job such as healthcare, the parties may choose to put into place a temporary child custody and visitation arrangement that best protects the health of the children. The arrangement could have an expiration date, with a permanent plan to take over once the danger has lessened. It’s important to get any form of child custody arrangement, even temporary ones, in writing and family court sanctioned.
Custody and visitation arrangements must also take into account travel restrictions. If you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse live far apart or in different states, a custody plan should limit the number of necessary trips. Even parents living close by may wish to limit the number of exchanges to avoid exposure. For example, instead of custody changing every weekend or every other week, the children could stay for two weeks or a month at a time in each location, especially if schools will be operating remotely. If you have any concerns, discuss your options with your divorce attorney and your co-parent.
Get Expert Counsel for Your Las Vegas Divorce
Our seasoned divorce lawyers in Las Vegas are ready to help you navigate all aspects of your divorce case, from complex asset evaluation and property division to alimony and child custody issues. Divorce attorneys Jennifer V. Abrams and Vincent Mayo offer courtesy phone consultations at no charge. Call 702-222-4021 to speak with one of them about your important divorce matter concerns.
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