For a few months during 2020, the population held our collective breaths. We put off events, then almost all plans that involved leaving the house or changing households. We’ve all seen a few news stories about sports games and weddings postponed by the pandemic, as were all the less splashy aspects of everyday life. Divorces were also put off, but you can only delay a divorce for so long. If your differences are truly separating, then separation is the next practical step.
With quarantine lifting, it’s time for divorcing couples to re-approach household separation with the new safety considerations in mind. We are now thinking about how to separate households safely, creating two home bubbles that avoid cross-contamination after the split and can also be made visitation-safe.
1. Fully Secure a Living Space Before Either Spouse Move
Separating households is an essential part of ending a marriage. Most spouses choose to separate as a way to test-run the idea of divorce. Others separate after the divorce is complete as the finalization of making one household back into two.
Looking into 2021, the viral safety of a household has become more pronounced. Roommates and live-in family are safe, but anyone who lives in a different house likely shares different immunities and exposure patterns. Splitting a household now means more than it did a year ago. Limiting exposure, social distancing, and the risks of splitting households must be taken into consideration.
To this end, our best advice is to secure each new residence fully before the move is made. Take virtual tours to pick a place. Fully plan and orchestrate a contact-free moving of belongings. Ensure the utilities are on so you can clean, shower, and sanitize the house immediately upon arrival – as well as staying warm or cool in the respective season.
Finally, make sure all survival and quarantine-maintenance supplies are packed lightly, readily at hand for departure, travel, and arrival.
2. Handle Paperwork and Meetings Online
Just separating households takes a reasonable amount of paperwork and a few face-to-face meetings. Conducting a divorce requires more than that. Make it easy for the transition and just do everything online. Find an online notary public to officiate. Share and copy official documents from neutral accounts on a shared platform.
Get in touch with your divorce lawyers or mediators online and hold most of your meetings through video conferencing, chat, and email. Start like this, and it will be easy to complete the divorce after you separate and the household fully splits.
3. Divide All Personal Belongings Before Separation
When you separate, each person should take their personal belongings in the split. Often, this process can take years to fully extract each others belongings from shared storage. Forgotten storage complicates a clean asset-separation further. However, passing items between houses as they are found or requested is not exactly quarantine-smart. So we advise going through the whole house when packing, including the attic and even rented storage so that your separation of personal belongings can be clean.
Start with all personal belongings that were owned privately before the marriage. Then pack personal clothes, toiletries, and other living essentials that clearly belong to one person or another. More weighty items like furniture, vehicles, and artwork may remain in dispute, but try to find and sort all the undisputed personal belongings for a one-time move.
4. Child Custody and Household “Bubbles”
Lastly, if there are children or other visiting relatives between a separated pair, consider how to temporarily re-combine immunity bubbles. Child custody is the best example to use, as children become a conduit for crossing each household ‘bubble’ with each rightful parenting switch. Quarantine and carefully limited exposure are both good answers. Having no potential contact for 2 weeks can ensure a household is not potentially contagious.
Cleaning routines and portable air purifiers can also help to quickly clean and maintain the cleanliness of a home for cross-bubble visiting safety.
Thinking about how to conduct your divorce in a safe, no-contact kind of way? We can help. Contact us to consult on the practical and safe methods for divorce in the new normal.