How to navigate divorce during COVID-19

Diane Horsman, Accredited Family Mediator and Divorce Consultant at Bold Consulting, offers creative options to assist couples and individuals in designing a separation agreement cost effectively. As a mediator, she empowers couples with a framework to reach resolution. As a consultant, Diane strategically assists individuals by discussing the issues, exploring options and developing solutions.

Divorce and separation are stressful enough without having to deal with a Global Pandemic. COVID-19 is adding anxiety and complexities: co-parenting challenges that include where the children should reside, living with a partner in isolation while separated, lay-offs and struggling businesses to name a few. Along with these disruptions, courts are closed.

Christopher Mamo, Family Lawyer at Niman Mamo LLP, says “We can only hope the court will relax its urgency requirements and begin to hear more cases virtually before physically reopening which may not be until mid-June”. He goes on, “if someone had an existing court case scheduled, that date is cancelled and they will not be rescheduling until they reopen”.

He encourages individuals who are thinking of filing with the court not to wait, as the backlog is growing by the day and suggests it’s best to act now to avoid further delays. While court was chosen in resolving your disputes before COVID-19, another option to consider now is Mediation. This process is more cost effective, will move you towards an agreement more quickly, and can be conducted remotely in keeping with current social distancing requirements.

Mediation is flexible and creative, allowing individuals to voice their needs, goals and concerns together with a neutral third party. The mediator will foster an interest-based discussion and ensure each party’s thoughts are heard while skillfully narrowing gaps on desired outcomes and guiding the couple towards resolution.

The framework allows couples to learn together and develop strategies to resolve issues such as parenting arrangements during COVID-19, create plans for when things normalize, structure or re-structure support obligations, and/or determine how the division of assets and liabilities are calculated. When both parties work together conflict is stabilized allowing you to deal with the current challenges more effectively.

COVID-19 has significantly impacted families and compounded with the anxiety while divorced or separated, can make you feel frozen and helpless. Taking action now will help you feel more in control and grounded, which will offer comfort to you and your family during this challenging time.

*Information provided by Niman Mamo LLP, does not constitute as legal advice

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