x markes on a couple' hands, divorce

The COVID-19 pandemic made many legal needs turn virtual, and virtual divorce is providing an option for couples seeking divorce who want to be as safe as possible from the virus. With virtual divorce options, couples can finalize their divorce without having to go to the attorney’s office or even leave home. Those considering this option will need to understand what it means and whether or not it is a good fit for their needs.

Amicable Divorce Easily Handled Virtually

Virtual divorce can work for most situations, but in amicable divorces, it makes the process quite easy. When the parties already have their differences worked out and do not need a large amount of mediation, they can simply finalize the divorce through a virtual conference and move on.

When the pandemic restrictions went into effect, the state of Illinois made provisions for a number of legal concerns to be handled digitally. Uncontested divorces can now be handled with electronic affidavits and digital signing, with a family law attorney overseeing the process but not directly interacting with clients in person. Many expect the ease of this technology to make it something that stays in place, even when the pandemic concerns have been removed.

Contested Divorces Face More Challenges When Done Virtually

Virtual divorce is less simple in a contested divorce situation. Serving divorce papers is not something that can be done virtually, so this requires an in-person meeting. Mediation must be done via zoom, which makes it more difficult for mediators to get a feel for the emotions of their clients. A family law attorney must be comfortable working in a virtual environment to help clients get through difficult disagreements.

Child Custody Arrangements Harder Virtually

Another concern with virtual mediation and divorce agreements is the need to have psychological evaluations done of children and parents to create parenting plans. While virtual assessments are possible, they are not as ideal and are preferred for high-stakes situations only. This may mean that custody arrangements require at least one in-person meeting if virtual divorces continue after the pandemic.

Still, virtual divorce is a tool that a family law attorney may add to their toolbox for the near future. It provides flexibility and requires less time from busy clients. In many divorce situations, it is a viable alternative to face-to-face meetings, giving flexibility, and speeding up the process for those who are simply ready to move on.