If you are considering filing for divorce in Georgia during the COVID-19 pandemic, there are several things to consider before making a final decision. Divorce can be complicated, with widespread legal, financial and personal ramifications.
The pandemic has negatively impacted families through lost jobs and has caused severe economic consequences for millions of Americans. Stay at home orders, in many cases, have further damaged relationships that were already struggling.
Real and potential impacts of COVID-19
For those who are thinking about filing for divorce, here are issues to consider:
- Court delays: The chief justice of the Supreme Court of Georgia has suspended all criminal and civil trials through July 12, with further extensions of that order likely through at least August. While courts remain open to handle critical and essential services, most in-person hearings have been postponed.
- Job losses: While Georgia and many other states are reopening businesses, the economy is expected to recover slowly. Nearly 3 million Georgians have filed unemployment claims over the past three months. Job loss dramatically affects the assets and debts involved in a divorce.
- Property division: Georgia is an equitable division state, meaning all property and debt acquired during a marriage is divided fairly, but not necessarily equally. That means a spouse who is still employed could be forced to take on a larger share of marital debt than their unemployed former partner.
- Alimony and child support: The pandemic has far-reaching consequences for divorced couples, in which both the payer and the person receiving child support or alimony payments can face significant financial strain.
Review the options before making a decision
While much uncertainty remains, there have been some positive signs recently as employment figures rebounded in May. However, as of June 25, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the state surpassed 71,000, with positive tests rising by 49% in June.
Adding the stress of considering a divorce during this time can be overwhelming. That’s why it’s vital not to make a decision based on those strong emotions. Consulting with an experienced family law attorney can help you make an informed choice by reviewing every option that’s in your family’s best interests.