The Covid-19 pandemic has had numerous effects on divorce litigation. The process now takes longer because courts have been closed for a period of time in New York due to the Covid-19 pandemic. At the current time, litigants in court proceedings in New York do not personally appear in court. Court appearance are handled on Microsoft Teams, a computer software program
Financial Issues and Covid-19
Covid-19 has impacted on a variety of financial issues which are dealt with in divorce cases. Individual’s income may have been negatively impacted due to Covid-19. Individuals may have been out of work for a period of time due to Covid-19.
Real Estate and Covid-19
Residential real estate has gone up considerably in New York since the Covid-19 pandemic started. Whether this will continue or the value of real estate will go down at some point in the future, nobody knows.
The stock market and Covid-19
The stock market is up approximately 20% during the 2021 calendar year. Stock markets tend to go up and then come down. There are questions as to whether the funds contributed from the federal government to the economy have impacted on the value of stocks. The Biden administration seeks to put more money into the economy through a trillion dollar infrastructure investments. Should this be passed by Congress this also can impact on the stock market.
The True Picture of Earnings
To get a true picture of an individual’s earnings, one must look at what the individual earned in 2017 and 2018. This must be compared with what the individual earned in 2019, 2020 and 2021. It may be that if the individual was laid off or underemployed due to the pandemic, this should be taken into consideration in any decision with regard to spousal maintenance and/or child support..
It should be noted both income and expenses were impacted by Covid-19. Expenses on clothing, dining out, entertainment and travel have gone down for most families because they have been stuck at home.
Should you been involved in a divorce case in 2021 when Covid-19 still exists a detailed analysis of the pre-Covid-19 and the post Covid-19 financial situation of the family must be taken into consideration.
Elliot S. Schlissel is a divorce lawyer representing clients in the metropolitan New York area from more than 40 years.