If you are thinking about divorce or are already in the process of divorce and were planning on trying mediation, you might be wondering whether or not it’s a good idea to move forward given the current chaos resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Maybe you have already started your sessions and wonder if this is the time for a pause. Fortunately, there is no reason to forego starting mediation or continuing with your sessions due to an outbreak. Talk to your mediator about arranging a virtual session, which can be an easy option for keeping your mediation on track. Secure, reliable, and easy to use video conferencing is always available at Weinberger Mediation Center.
Addressing Urgent Financial Decisions
It can be important to stay on track with mediation sessions during a time of upheaval. If you are working out details of a support agreement or a property distribution, the current economic climate could have a significant impact. A job loss or reduced hours may call for reconsideration of appropriate support payments. If you were planning to balance an award of property, such as a marital home, with an award of finances, consider how a sharp financial downturn might affect those plans. Perhaps you were planning to liquidate investments so that one of you could buy or rent a new home. You may need to reevaluate the practicality and timing of any such moves. Is less expensive housing an option? Does it make sense to delay certain plans until things stabilize? Mediation provides a calm environment and an objective third party to help you work through such challenging issues.
It’s always a good idea to consult with a financial expert before finalizing agreements, but financial advice could be more critical now than ever. A financial advisor can help you evaluate the impact of the current economic crisis, including how things might change over the next several months. A rapidly changing outlook can also serve as a reminder to build contingency planning into any agreements you make. Financial experts can prepare reports for use in mediation or can even participate in a session in person (or virtually if necessary!). Don’t let fears about COVID-19 stop you from making important financial decisions.
Implementing Emergency Parenting Plans for the COVID-19 Crisis and Beyond
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic also has many parents rethinking their parenting plans. Whether you are in the middle of a divorce or you already have a parenting agreement in place, school closings and quarantines can throw a monkey wrench into even the best laid plans. Day care centers may be closed, or a trusted caregiver may be in a high-risk group and need to isolate for a period of time. Including an emergency plan in your parenting agreement can address some of these concerns. Some questions to ask yourself in creating a plan include the following:
- How flexible are each parent’s work hours?
- Can either or both parents work from home?
- Is either parent likely to suffer a job loss or a reduction of hours?
- Are there relatives or friends who might be able to pitch in and help with childcare if necessary?
- If parents live far apart, how might travel plans for children be affected?
- How will you adjust your plans if a parent needs to isolate or falls ill?
- If either parent loses significant parenting time due to a crisis, can you adjust time going forward to make this up?
Don’t let these important issues go unaddressed. Mediation can vastly reduce the time it takes to resolve a divorce or custody matter, especially when compared to going through the delayed court system. Achieving finality, closure and stability may be exactly what you need to weather this time with greater peace of mind.
Do you have questions about divorce mediation? One of our caring and experienced mediators can help you decide. Contact us today for a virtual consultation.