COVID-19 Adds an Extra Layer of Complexity to Property Division During Divorce
22 Apr, 2020, 17:04 ET
IRVINE, Calif., April 22, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- There are aspects of your divorce proceeding which may now be harder to deal with due to COVID-19. While Pedrick Law Group, APC has announced that the firm is conducting virtual consultations, other matters related to COVID-19 may make your divorce challenging due to the current economic climate.
The closure of California courts complicates matters pertaining to family law because, once the courts re-open, there will be a backlog of cases that may result in divorce proceedings taking longer than expected. However, final orders are in some cases being handled through telecom should you choose to proceed with your divorce. "If your ex is weaponizing COVID-19 to manipulate child custody or other divorce-related matters, don't wait until the courts re-open to get your ducks in a row," says Attorney Gregory J. Pedrick. "You can still get divorced. You can still proceed with child custody and support orders when the courts resume operations, while reserving property division until the crisis passes should you determine that to be financially advantageous," adds Pedrick.
Property Division During Novel Coronavirus
During normal times, appraisers, accountants, and more help us determine the value of a marital estate for property division during California divorce proceedings. However, once businesses re-open and "normal life" resumes, chances are revenue will be lower than prior to the pandemic outbreak, property values could be impacted, and investment portfolios could be undervalued due to stock market fluctuations.
Although you do not have to put your entire divorce proceeding on hold, you may want to consider finalizing other aspects of your divorce while temporarily holding off on matters pertaining to property division.
The best expert cannot tell you how much of an impact COVID-19 will have on the value of a business, real estate or investment portfolio. When there is a business interest involved, you can consider setting a future date to determine business value and handle division of the asset. There is also uncertainty as to what the stock market may do once the crisis passes.
For many couples facing divorce, waiting to divide property until there is an economic recovery may be a good option. Because many businesses are currently closed, there may be an inability to secure an accurate evaluation until they resume full operations.
Protecting Property Interests During Pandemic
While you may not be able to get your property division settlement completely ironed out while dealing with the current crisis, Attorney Gregory J. Pedrick of Pedrick Law Group, APC reminds people there are some steps you can take to protect your interests while waiting for the courts to re-open. Some of these steps include:
- Monitor assets and liability carefully — whether one or both spouses is/are responsible for ensuring debts are paid, and assets remain as intact as possible during the pandemic and lockdown, you should try to ensure that no decisions are made regarding liquidating assets or taking on more debt without the consultation of both spouses. Talk to your spouse and see if you can reach an agreement about handling these decisions. If you have problems communicating this effectively with your spouse because of your pending divorce, contact an attorney immediately to see if you can get an emergency court order to ensure assets are not liquidated during this time.
- Document Agreements Between Yourselves — if you are able to reach an agreement, make sure you have it in writing. While this may be difficult to manage during isolation, your attorney can help facilitate this in a way which allows both of you to be safe. This naturally only works if there is some level of trust between you and your spouse. Should there be a lack of trust, you may wish to consider filing for a temporary injunction which may be granted by the courts automatically.
Bear in mind during this time, there may legitimate reasons for liquidating assets to maintain certain financial obligations, particularly if there is a business venture which could survive the pandemic. Like any other issue facing a divorce, communication is key.
Considering Moving Forward During the Pandemic?
If you are considering moving forward with your divorce while the courts are closed, there are still some things you can do to ensure that the final division is as fair as possible. Some of these include using a percentage of the value at a future date which may work better than setting a fixed dollar amount.
Given that it is impossible to determine today what business(es) may survive this economic nightmare, this may be your best option.
If you have questions or concerns about property division issues and divorce, call Orange County divorce lawyer Pedrick Law Group, APC at (949) 388-8682 to schedule your consultation.
SOURCE Pedrick Law Group, APC
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