Divorcing during COVID-19 brings new challenges for couples

ST. JOSEPH COUNTY , Ind. -- The coronavirus pandemic is putting a halt on major life events like graduations, funerals and wedding, but divorce is not one of them. Couples are still filing for separation during the pandemic.

People are still contacting their lawyers to go ahead with the divorce process. Attorney Nicholas Artusi who is a managing partner of Law Offices of Nicholas Artusi in South Bend mentioned that some courts are having virtual hearings, but the pandemic has drawn-out the process.

“Things are different now than they were two months ago. There are still new filings happening every day with the courts, there’s new cases being filed,” said Artusi. “It’s just that the finalization process is going to be longer than what it could have been in the past.”

Artusi is a family law attorney and has been doing virtual consultations since the shelter order has taken effect. But there have been limitations in the process for both new couples who are filing and previous ones.

While some courts are holding virtual hearings, a divorce in St. Joseph county can’t be complete without taking a co-parenting class.

“One of our local rules requires the parties to participate in co-parenting classes through our domestic relations counseling bureau. They’re located over at St. Joe, the county city building. Right now they’re not doing any face to face interactions with clients whatsoever. So we’re finding that those classes right now are being put on hold also. Those are required to be completed before the divorce can be finalized,” said Artusi.

Other issues that have come into play are mediating divorce couples, setting the initial hearings to settle any disputes such as child custody, child support and who gets what in the end.

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