How Coronavirus Has Changed Divorce in DuPage County
COVID-19 has changed many aspects of divorce in DuPage County. The pandemic has had an impact on custody, parenting time, domestic violence, court procedures, and the way that divorces are initiated and carried out. The effects of COVID-19 have also increased virtual services and new ways for matrimonial attorneys to serve their clients.
The Impact of COVID-19 Stay-at-Home Orders on Divorce and Domestic Violence
Domestic violence has long been a problem across the state and in DuPage County. Unfortunately, as a result of the COVID-19 stay-at-home orders, domestic abuse and violence rates have spiked — many victims have been quarantined inside for weeks with their abusive partners, isolated and with nowhere to go. It's important to know that if you are experiencing domestic violence, you can still get the help and support you need during the COVID-19 pandemic. The State of Illinois continues to offer emergency services and a 24-crisis hotline for victims.
Divorce filings are also likely to increase significantly as a result of COVID-19. Even if you were not in a high conflict partnership or abusive relationship before the start of the pandemic, COVID-19 may have caused you to experience new problems or amplify existing ones in your marriage. As a result of the pandemic, many couples have found that their marriages have suffered beyond repair —financial uncertainty, unemployment, confinement in quarantine, and an increased amount of time together can significantly strain a relationship.
COVID-19 Related Updated Court Procedures
Due to COVID-19, restrictions were put in place in the courts to reduce capacity and limit the spread of the virus. DuPage County Divorce Court is taking numerous precautionary measures to keep you safe. The court has implemented:
- Remote hearings
- Temperature readings
- Mask requirements
- Seating marked for social distancing
- Frequent cleaning and disinfecting
- Plexiglass shields in courtrooms
- Hand sanitizer dispensers
Until further notice, most conferences for divorce matters in DuPage County will proceed remotely using platforms such as Zoom. Trials and evidentiary hearings will proceed at the discretion of the judge if they are determined to be exigent.
COVID-19 Has Increased the Use of Virtual Mediation and Divorce Services
As a result of COVID-19, there has been an increase in virtual services offered by many law firms, including Birt Law. Your divorce doesn't have to be on hold during the pandemic — we provide customized virtual divorce services, including virtual mediation and Collaborative Divorce. Technology such as Zoom, videoconferencing platforms, and secure document sharing programs allow us to offer the same customized legal services and more convenient divorce solutions. They can also save you time and money.
Virtual mediation is an alternative to litigation that allows you to comply with social-distancing guidelines. It also has the same benefits as in-person mediation — flexibility and control over the outcome of your case. However, unlike an in-person session, virtual mediation allows you to be in a separate location from your spouse —this can help you avoid the conflict or negative emotions that can arise from being in the same room.
Similarly, Virtual Collaborative Divorce is another alternative that can help you accomplish your goals and resolve issues without going to court. Although the collaborative divorce process has always contributed to reducing conflict, virtual services can create an additional buffer to minimize friction between you and your spouse.
Virtual mediation and collaborative divorce may also help move your divorce process along more quickly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the courts are operating at limited capacity, these alternative dispute resolution methods help you avoid having to wait for scheduled court appearances and a judge issuing decisions concerning your case.
Birt Law Remains Open and Available to Help Clients
Birt Law is dedicated to offering clients customized divorce services, including virtual divorce services, virtual mediation, and virtual collaborative divorce services for the safety and convenience of clients. Our firm remains fully operational during the COVID-19 pandemic. Contact us to learn more about our virtual services and tailored divorce solutions.