Covid divorces are on the slow path.
Divorce was often time-consuming and expensive – a US survey found the average cost was $ 12,900 – but now, routine parts of the process, like getting a document certified, can require heroic efforts. Moving out is also difficult, especially in Los Angeles and parts of Connecticut and New Jersey, where house prices have increased. One spouse may have wanted to keep the house but cannot afford to buy the other. In New York City, where prices have come down, no one wants to sell the $ 6 million apartment when it has to be quoted at $ 3 million, as is the case with one of Ms. Chemtob’s customers.
For many wealthy New Yorkers seeking a divorce, there are many arguments about the vacation home that many families have lived in for months. In a case by attorney Harriet Newman Cohen, a couple spent thousands of dollars arguing over a court order that would seal off the master bedroom in their Hamptons home so the husband couldn’t spend the night there with his girlfriend when he showed up in turn the children could be seen.
“He wouldn’t say, ‘I’m not going in there,’ so it had to be cordoned off,” said Ms. Cohen, whose client included New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo.
Delays can be more expensive.
In addition to the mental toll of the waiting game, delays related to coronavirus can add to the bill.
Jessica Wilbur, 36, of Frankfort, Maine, first filed for divorce in March 2019. The trial has been postponed twice: first because the courts were closed because of the pandemic and again because a lawyer may have been exposed to the virus. Although the trial finally took place in October, she did not receive her orders until mid-December because the judge was so supported. The delays, Ms. Wilbur said, cost her thousands of dollars, both because she and her attorney had to prepare for court every time, and because more problems would arise with her 12-year-old husband in the meantime. The divorce is not final.
Lawyers acknowledge that while there is seldom travel time or waiting in court for clients to pay for those days (almost everything is virtual and by appointment), this is offset by other costs such as travel expenses. B. Hours waiting outside the courthouse to file an electronic case system does not accept.
So many documents.
Then there’s this notarized document, something a lawyer could do so easily while waiting in court with a client. In at least some states, if customers prefer not to do this in person, video calls must be sent back and forth with the document by mail or delivery service.