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Settling Divorces in the Midst of a Pandemic

By: Alisse C. Camazine

If you are in the middle of your divorce case, the Covid-19 pandemic may throw a major roadblock in the road to achieving a settlement. If valuations of marital property have been completed, they may need to be re-examined or even done again, once the economic dust settles.

Even if you believe your case is fully resolved, changes in the values of marital assets should be carefully evaluated to determine whether the settlement remains reasonable. The Covid-19 pandemic is affecting the value of all kinds of assets which may be a part of a divorce settlement, from family businesses and other closely held businesses to rental properties, stocks, mutual funds, bonds, and retirement benefits.

When deciding whether someone can work and what income they can earn for purposes of figuring out maintenance and child support awards, we frequently retain a vocational expert to assess the job market and determine the person’s earning capacity. If the evaluation was done before the Covid-19 pandemic, it may also need to be redone to determine whether the jobs that one thought existed will still be available. The security of a job held by someone prior to the virus may also be in question.

Since courts will likely consider a rate of return on investments or income that can be earned on certain kinds of property to determine the amount of maintenance and child support, it is crucial to re-examine whether the assumptions used in arriving at a settlement are still reasonable.

With the economic ground shifting daily beneath our feet, taking a second look at a settlement discussed prior to the impact of the virus is a good idea to understand the risks involved. The family law attorneys at Paule, Camazine, & Blumenthal can help you evaluate your options.


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