Mar 10, 2020

Coronavirus & Divorce: It’s More Than Just Washing Your Hands

Coronavirus is impacting every aspect of our lives and in ways that require more than simply “washing your hands.”  The following are some key considerations to keep in mind when, in the midst of this epidemic, you are also in the midst of a divorce: 

Assets. The global markets have seen a significant decline as a result of fears related to Coronavirus. Be mindful of the impact the market has on the assets being negotiated or allocated during divorce at this time since the values may fluctuate wildly in the coming weeks.  Likely, it is in both parties’ best interest to not react rashly but rather wait out the turmoil so everyone can make informed decisions when stability has returned.

Medical Coverage. Quality medical coverage is important in times of “sickness and health.” For divorcing spouses, keep in mind that a former spouse cannot remain on his or her health insurance plan but rather will need to transition to COBRA (if available), a private plan or secure coverage through an employer. Make sure you know your options before the divorce is finalized. Now is not the time to leave any family member uncovered. For children, the parent not maintaining health insurance should consider the entry of a Qualified Medical Child Support Order in order to authorize the health insurance company to provide him or her with access to the plan information. This way, both parents have readily available information regarding the child’s healthcare and the provider’s explanation of benefits. 

Parent Communication. Parents should stay updated, and provide notice to the other parent, of health related changes impacting a child during his or her parenting time.  Similarly, timely sharing information received from the child’s school or extra-curricular activities, especially information related to health concerns impacting the school / team (e.g. Coronavirus detection, Influenza outbreak, lice detection) is critical to ensure that the child’s health remains a priority irrespective of different households.

Travel Plans. Coronavirus is significantly impacting both domestic and international travel with many people electing to cancel travel plans. Parents should be sure to confirm and follow the Parenting Plan or other agreements regarding itinerary notice or other travel provisions especially if the travel plans include airline or cruise ship travel. If changes need to be made to travel plans, then be sure to make those changes as soon as possible and provide the other parent with the appropriate notice.  This is not a good time to argue with the other parent about whether travel should or should not happen.  Rather, this is a good time to work together and make a decision which is in the best interest of your children.               

Even in the midst of a divorce, the best course of action right now is to stay calm and informed in order to protect yourself and your family.

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