The fact that divorce filings are increasing is likely not a surprise to many. After all, bad news seems to be the norm this year, and many can probably empathize with the added stress of the pandemic leading many couples to divorce. Though, they may be surprised that the divorce tsunami is actually changing how divorces occur.
What does the divorce tsunami look like?
A poling of divorce industry insiders in April and July showed that there was an increase of between 25% to 35% over these same months in 2019. Online divorce document providers have also seen sales rise by nearly 35% when compared to this time last year.
How is the divorce process effected?
Unfortunately, with lockdowns, court closures and increased financial uncertainty (reduced income, devaluations of stock and business interests, etc.), combined with the extremely high number of filings, the face of divorce is changing. First, just getting a divorce is taking longer than it normally would take. Some courts have been shut down for months, only opening for virtual hearing recently. This means that filers will have to wait for all of those people who already filed to get before a judge. In some states, that wait is measured in years.
These delays mean that many are considering mediation and arbitration instead of litigation. In mediation, a neutral third-party (often another attorney) works with both spouses’ attorneys to reach a mutually agreeable solution. On the other hand, an arbitration hearing acts more like traditional litigation, where a family law expert or attorney is brought in to act as a judge, hear evidence and testimony and then make a decision.
Another difference is financial and health uncertainty. In normal times, couples could just get an apartment or move in with friends. Now, couples are having to go through the divorce process under the same roof as there is not enough money to get another place to live and family members are not comfortable with another person in their house.
Divorcing remotely in the current times
Regardless of how a Hamilton, Ohio, resident seeks or attains their divorce, it will be done largely, if not entirely, remotely. This includes court proceedings, mediation, arbitration, etc. And, while no divorce is normal, everyone who goes through the process is unique with individual needs and wants. This is why it is so important to contact an attorney to ensure those individualized needs and wants are met.