Marriage Dissolution During COVID-19

The ongoing pandemic has introduced many additional stressors to nearly everyone’s daily lives.  Minnesotans are coping with closed schools, job losses, and many other extraordinary changes brought about by COVID-19 and the State’s stay-at-home order.  The increased amount of time at home will give many people a chance to reflect on their current circumstances and evaluate what areas of their lives could use improvement.  For some, positive changes will include getting out of an unhealthy marriage.   A divorce can be a difficult experience even in the best of times.  The current pandemic has added yet another layer of complexity to this process.  Melchert Hubert Sjodin is here to help.  We are experienced in helping our clients transition from one phase of their lives to the next.

Can I still file for divorce during the stay-at-home order?

Yes.  Minnesota courts are still open and accepting new case filings.  However, cases are not moving along as quickly as before the pandemic.  The courts have divided cases into different priority groups.  “High priority” matters are continuing as normal (although through remote means), while other matters are suspended until Governor Walz lifts the restrictions.  “High priority” matters include urgent issues such as those involving domestic abuse or child endangerment.

However, this does not mean that we are unable to file with the courts or that there is no benefit to initiating your case now.  For one, filing now will ensure your place in line so your matter can move forward when the courts return to normal operations.  Another important reason not to delay is that your property valuation date (i.e., the date the court uses to determine the value of your property when deciding how everything will be divided during the divorce) could be locked in by filing.  With the current downward trend of the economy, an earlier valuation date could make a huge difference.  Similarly, even if there is a delay in the court hearing your case, spousal support (alimony) and child support will generally be retroactive to the date of filing.

If you are ready to schedule a confidential consultation, please contact attorney Jason Lee at (952) 442-7700.