The marriage vows “for better or for worse” have taken on an entirely new meaning during COVID-19. Whether the pandemic has impacted your marriage, or not, most couples have been holding their breath to see how COVID-19 will be affecting their livelihoods in the long run. While for some, the additional family time has been a blessing in disguise, for others, it has highlighted their incompatibilities. Given the uncertainty of the current economic landscape, many who find themselves staring at discordancy are wondering if divorce is even a feasible option in this now remote-run world.
Over the last five months, despite the courts having limited in-person access, family cases have not skipped a beat. That’s not to say there hasn’t been change. We’ve seen the legal world adapt and move to online mediations and arbitrations. So, in short, divorces are still happening; they’re just mostly virtual and with slightly different formats. There have been some delays in scheduling and rescheduling hearings, but attorneys are focusing on what can be controlled and looking into different options towards obtaining a divorce.
The option of mediation has sky-rocketed during COVID-19. Litigants, attorneys and mediators have become well versed in electronic platforms such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams. These platforms have allowed the parties to be separate from each other, the parties to be in the same virtual room as their attorney, and the mediator can go back and forth between virtual rooms or bring everyone together in one virtual room. Should the parties reach an agreement, we find it helpful to schedule a follow up mediation to work on any issues in the language of the actual Agreement.
But mediation doesn’t work for everyone, especially the most contested cases. Our courts have quickly adapted to holding hearings over the telephone, or through a video application, or in-person with caution. Attorneys have also become experienced with conducting discovery virtually. For instance, depositions do not have to be in person, and many are holding depositions via Zoom or Microsoft Teams. While this is certainly not the same as an in-person deposition, it keeps the process moving.
If you are considering a separation and divorce, you have options. It is always best to reach out to an attorney beforehand to know and understand what is expected. You can feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
ABOUT SANDRA A. BROOKS
email@example.com | 240.507.1716
As a family law attorney, Sandra (Sandy) Brooks’ practice focuses on a wide range of aspects in regards to family law. She dedicates her time to assisting clients in domestic law matters including divorce, child custody and visitation, family mediation, spousal and child support, property division, and division of retirement benefits. Other matters that fall under her jurisdiction as a family law attorney include tax consequences of divorce, mediation, prenuptial and post-nuptial agreements, negotiating and drafting of separation agreements, domestic litigation, and post-judgment proceedings.
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