Although the stay-at-home order is in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are bringing families closer together than ever before, there are many married couples who are either going through the divorce process or on the verge of ending the marriage. Although the Arizona courts are considered “essential” and remain open (not to the public), in-person court hearings are not being conducted at this time.
Due to all the uncertainty surrounding divorce during the outbreak, the following are some answers (as of April 23) to the most frequently answered questions about divorce in Arizona during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Question: I’m thinking about divorce but haven’t made a final decision. Who can I consult with?
Answer: Bowan, Smith & Kallen is still open and available to help current and potential clients over the phone or through a video conferencing app.
Q: Can I file for divorce now?
A: Yes! Although the Clerk’s Offices in Yuma, Phoenix, and Tucson are closed to in-person business until May 1, 2020 (and perhaps longer), you can still file for divorce by mail.
Q: My spouse and I are older and have underlying health conditions that make us vulnerable to COVID-19. We have reached full agreements about divorce but afraid to go to the Clerk’s Office. What can we do?
A: Our legal team can draft and file your court documents on your behalf. Remember, notarization is required for some documents and we know the safest ways to get it done.
Q: My spouse and I are still trying to reach full agreements but want to avoid going to court. How can we start?
A: Mediation is the best option to find common ground on divorce issues. A mediator can be a therapist, counselor, or even a lawyer. Many mediators can now help resolve divorce issues through Zoom or any other video conferencing app.
Q: I’m in the middle of the divorce process, so can I still complete it?
A: As long as you and your spouse reach an agreement, you can submit the settlement documents for a judge to sign. If you and your spouse cannot reach an agreement – even after going through mediation – the family court is currently not open for contested hearings. However, it is possible that hearings may be conducted through phone or video conferencing soon.
If you are interested in filing for divorce in Yuma, contact Bowman, Smith & Kallen today at (928) 433-2355 to let us discuss your legal options.