Effects of Covid-19 on Colorado Divorce in 2022
Updated: Jan 6
After almost two years living with Covid-19 we have all experienced the various changes it has brought to our lives. This article discusses some of the effects we have seen on divorce in Colorado.
No Legal Advice Intended: This information is not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. You should contact an attorney for advice on specific legal problems.
Effects on Court Procedure
The primary effects of Covid-19 in Colorado divorce involve changes to court hearings. Over the past two and a half years we have seen Courts shift to hold more domestic relations hearings virtually via Webex video conference.
Policies vary by judicial district. At the moment, most judicial districts in Northern Colorado hold Initial Status Conferences virtually. Some districts are holding in person temporary orders, permanent orders, emergency restriction hearings, while some are holding all proceedings virtually. The policy on virtual hearings also may change at any time depending on staff and personnel availability in the courts. We have seen each judicial district tighten, loosen, and re-tighten restrictions again.
Virtual hearings are conducted as similarly to in person hearings as possible. All the same evidence rules continue to apply and parties are expected to behave and dress as if they were in person.
Effects on Financial Elements of Divorce
Other changes related to Covid-19 involve financial considerations surrounding the parties’ earning ability. Dependent upon the effect of Covid-19 on a party’s earning ability, there may be impacts on calculation of property division, maintenance, or child support.
Effects on Parenting Time
The increase in remote learning and remote work have created changes in parenting time. Some parents may have more freedom for parenting time with remote work, but the necessities of remote learning create additional challenges.
Effects on Parental Decision-Making
The variations in remote learning combined with safety concerns about group learning environments are ripe for parental disagreement. Additionally, health concerns of individual parents and households can create varying levels of concern about Covid-19 between households. No better method of resolution of parental decision-making disputes has come from the courts since the onset of Covid-19. Parents sharing joint decision-making authority must continue to cooperate in decision-making or be forced through the daunting court process of requesting a change in decision-making authority. Disputes on child vaccinations are a particularly common area of disagreement. To date, no Colorado court decisions have been decided that provide direction to make resolution of the disagreement clearer. The courts continue to generally apply the best interests of the child factors on a case-by-case basis.