Divorce During the Year of Coronavirus
The number of people looking for divorce spiked 34 percent between March and June, compared to a year earlier, and 20 percent of the people exploring divorce have been married five months or less, according to recent data. It appears that the stress of quarantine, job loss, homeschooling and other aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic is straining marriages beyond their breaking point.
Unfortunately, couples getting divorced during the pandemic face a variety of obstacles, including the fact that the court system is backlogged. Arizona courts cut back their operations this summer as the number of positive COVID-19 cases skyrocketed. The courts remained open but in-person activity was reduced and schedules were adjusted.
The Superior Court of Maricopa County, which covers Phoenix and Scottsdale, has modified some procedures for divorce cases:
- Filing for divorce — Unfortunately, an initial divorce petition cannot be filed online. Litigants must file their initial divorce paperwork by mail or by locating a filing depository box and dropping off the paperwork there.
- Subsequent filings — After the initial case is opened, other documents can be filed using Maricopa County’s online eFile system. Exhibits, motions, replies and essentially everything after the initial divorce petition can be filed electronically.
- Hearings — The majority of family law proceedings are being held virtually using GoToMeeting. For divorces involving children, parents must complete the Parent Information Program online; no in-person classes are being held.
We encourage you to visit the Maricopa Court Judicial Branch Operations page for updates, and specifically review the Current Family Department Operations document.
During a time like this, having a trusted Arizona family law attorney on your side is invaluable. COVID-19 means there are even more moving parts than usual within the judicial system, and only a lawyer who works within the system every day will be able to navigate the changes efficiently. Putting the right attorney on your side can alleviate some of the stress you’re feeling right now.
At Clark & Schloss Family Law, P.C. in Scottsdale, Arizona, our divorce lawyers have been working throughout the pandemic and understand all the unique procedures cases must go through at this time. To speak with one of our attorneys about your situation, please call 602-789-3497 or contact us online. Your initial consultation is free, and we can conduct it using video or telephone conferencing if you would like.