COVID-19 is surging in Texas, with thousands of new cases being confirmed every day. While the COVID-19 numbers capture the daily headlines, the full extent of its impact goes far beyond the statistics, reaching into every facet of life. For many, divorce is part of life right now, and the virus is adding complication and uncertainty into an already stressful process.
Asset Values Could Be Impacted
After plummeting in March, the stock market recently surged during what is now known as the “coronavirus rally.” Many economists believe the stock market has simply become detached from reality—the reality that the underlying economy includes 27 million unemployed people (as of this writing in mid-July).
At the same time, many major corporations are so uncertain about the future they have withdrawn their investor guidance as they try to get a handle on what’s happening. Right now, there is no way to know what direction stock values—and the various retirement and investment accounts a couple owns—will go.
The housing market is also cooling off. In May 2020, home sales in Dallas County were down almost 35% compared to May 2019. The homes that did sell sold at lower prices; the median home sales price in May 2020 was 3.9% lower than a year earlier.
Why Does This Matter to a Divorcing Couple?
Asset division is a major phase of divorce for many couples. Property like houses, 401(k)s and IRAs are usually some of the most valuable items requiring division. Couples of high net worth, for example, typically have complex portfolios of real estate, stocks and bonds, not just in their retirement accounts, but in the form of brokerage accounts and other vehicles.
You and your lawyer must keep in mind the current market conditions when negotiating a property settlement. For some couples, now might be a great time to get everything finalized and divided. For others, it might be prudent to wait if possible, and see where things go. There are so many variables involved here. The best thing you can do is talk to your Texas divorce attorney and financial professionals to get their advice.
Medical Coverage, Custody and More
About three million Texans have filed for unemployment since the pandemic began, and applications began to rise quickly at the end of June. Around 96,000 people filed claims in the final week of the month.
When jobs disappear, so does health coverage. A viral outbreak is not the time to leave a family member uninsured. Divorced people can’t remain on each other’s health plans, so you may need to obtain COBRA benefits or buy private health insurance if you’re not employed.
Parenting is also impacted by the virus. Divorcing parents should work hard to communicate about things like visitation, children’s health care, education and many other aspects of custody. Be flexible and understanding if possible. These are unprecedented times and you don’t want your children affected any more than necessary.
Our Texas Law Firm Is Open and Here to Help
Physical access to our Frisco and Prosper law offices is limited right now, but our attorneys are all available to help. We can meet via video conference or telephone, and we are quick to respond to emails. To discuss how COVID-19 could affect your divorce, please call Albin Oldner Law, PLLC at 214-430-4440
or send us a message.