On top of divorce stress, coronavirus is leading to additional challenges for couples who are separated or looking to file for a divorce. Stay-at-home orders are forcing separated couples to live under the same roof. Spouses who already decided on a divorce are being left wondering whether they should file now even though courts are closed. Family law attorney Rebecca Wade provides insights for couples looking to separate or file for a divorce during the COVID-19 pandemic.
SEPARATION DURING COVID-19
In the state of Virginia, couples who live together are typically not considered separated. You must be separated at least 12 months before you can petition for divorce. “There is no legal separation in Virginia. Most of the case law says you cannot be separated while living under the same roof,” says Wade. Now, because of COVID-19 it’s a lot harder to move and the stay-at-home orders are forcing people to live together even though they want to separate.
For couples who have to live together right now, but want to be considered as being separated, Wade gives the following tips:
- Split finances
- Eat your meals separately
- Stay in separate rooms
- If possible, stay in separate levels of the house
FILING FOR DIVORCE DURING COVID-19
Many people are asking, “Should I be moving forward with my divorce now even though courts are closed?” The answer is yes. While COVID-19 has created challenges for couples filing for divorce, now is not the time to wait. When courts do re-open there will be a huge backlog of cases and increased wait time to get a hearing date for the next year to 18 months says Wade. She advises spouses who are looking to get a divorce to file now to reserve your place in line.
If you have any questions about divorce or separation, or would like to set up a consultation, please contact Rebecca Wade at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Partner Rebecca Janet Wade has spent years representing clients grappling with high-conflict family law challenges. She has in-depth knowledge of where family law intersects with criminal law, along with strategies honed from fighting in the trenches of domestic battles. Ms. Wade has extensive experience with protective orders and laws involving physical abuse, assault and injury, emotional abuse, threats of violence, domestic violence, child abuse and neglect and more. She represents clients in cases of divorce, child custody and visitation, protective orders, child protective services investigations, juvenile delinquency, and criminal charges. Her work defending the mother of a young child left in a hot car seat received considerable media attention.