COVID-19 Court Closures and the Impact on Divorce Proceedings in Missouri

As COVID-19, or the novel coronavirus, continues to spread and affect many matters of life for millions of Americans, the Missouri courts are also experiencing certain changes in their operations.

Local stay-at-home orders and the closure of businesses and public facilities has also led to the closure of courts in Missouri. Even after the stay-at-home orders are lifted and things get back on track, we will continue to see the fallout of the virus on divorce proceedings far into the future.

Courts Are Limiting Operations to Essential Functions

As of March 13, both state and national emergencies were declared after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic. As a result, the Supreme Court of Missouri implemented certain measures to help minimize the virus’ spread to both employees of the Missouri judiciary and the general public.

While the Missouri courts remain open, the Supreme Court of Missouri suspended all in-person proceedings in circuit and appellate courts, which includes all divorce proceedings. The temporary closure is set to last until Friday, May 15th. Most hearings and other non-essential court dates during this time will be postponed until it’s safe to return to court, or if teleconferences are available with attorneys.

How This Affects Your Divorce Process

A majority of non-essential divorce cases will be able to resume once the courts have reopened, but keep in mind that assets that were outlined beforehand may now be impacted as a result of the virus’ toll on the economy. This can include family businesses, rental properties, mutual funds, stocks, bonds, and retirement benefits.

It’s best to take another look at the settlement that was discussed prior to the pandemic and make changes accordingly. Unfortunately, many people are out of work as businesses either temporarily shut down or turn to remote work, so it’s necessary to take into account how your work situation might impact your finances and, subsequently, your divorce settlement.

Another way in which COVID-19 is affecting divorce proceedings is that even when the courts are reopened, there will likely be a huge backlog in place that prevents couples from expediting the divorce process, which can result in even longer delays. Delays during divorce proceedings can be particularly difficult for couples who want the process to end as soon as possible, but it’s important to practice patience during this time and avoid potential complications.

Contact Our Family Law Attorneys

While the COVID-19 pandemic may have affected the Missouri divorce process and your individual assets, you can make sure the divorce process continues to go smoothly by working with a reputable divorce lawyer in St. Louis. The experienced legal team at Rogers Sevastianos & Bante, LLP can give you the representation you need to help with the divorce process, along with other family law matters in these uncertain times. We understand how difficult these times may be for those seeking a divorce, which is why we’re here to help minimize the hindrance this outbreak may have indirectly caused.

If you would like to discuss your case and find out how COVID-19 might specifically impact your divorce, contact our family law attorneys in St. Louis for a free consultation today.

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