How has Covid-19 changed the way your case is being handled by your attorney and by the court system?
There is no question that since March 2020, the practice of law has changed, especially in the family law practice area. While there have been ups and downs, and unforeseen complications, there has also been positive and even unexpected surprises-the good kind.
How has Covid-19 affected my case? Is there anything I should be concerned about, beyond the normal concerns I may have? The good news, your case is still progressing in the same manner as it would be, without the onset of Covid-19. The laws have remained unchanged. Orders are still orders and must be followed and if not, they can be enforced by the court. Agreements are still reached and those too shall be followed and can be enforced. Attorneys and litigants are being held accountable for their actions or inactions. The same rules apply regarding the process of your case being filed, and each step along the way, through conclusion. While many of our courts have been closed for in-person hearings, trials, and conferences, the Judges and Commissioners have been available for routine conferences, emergency hearings, and even trials by Zoom or Webex. The laws remain in place and continue to be the guidelines for your case.
Our role as attorneys, to be your advocate and guide you through your case, remains unchanged. We are still there to explain the process, though everchanging, to discuss your specific facts and address your questions and concerns. Though we may be doing this via telephone, Google Meet, or Zoom more often than in-person, the attorney-client relationship is more important than ever as our time together in person has been reduced, and the relationship is built on communication and trust, sometimes without ever having a face-to-face meeting.
The nature of family law, requires patience, flexibility, cooperation, and even some imagination and creativity. Often times we craft unique parenting plans to meet your work schedules, travel schedules, kids’ specific needs, which requires outside the box thinking. Covid-19 has certainly required this of us, as we have found countless ways to adjust schedules for parents or siblings who are quarantined, or live out of town and cannot travel or front-line workers who cannot exercise their regularly scheduled time with their children.
Sure, there have been changes in the way we communicate with the Judges, other attorneys, and even clients, to ensure everyone’s safety. And while it may feel as if Covid-19 has halted your case, or slowed the process, that is true in some matters. However, most cases are still proceeding forward in the same (slow) or (fast) pace pre-Covid-19, depending on your perspective.
In the end, the role of the family law attorney has not changed; rather, in 2020 it has simply adapted to new methods of client communication, court appearances, and differing procedures depending on which county a case is pending. It has not been easy for lawyers and their clients; however, these strange days will pass, and we look forward to what 2021 will bring.
While we wish you and your family all the best throughout this Covid-19 pandemic, and the holiday season, should you need the advice of a family law attorney or have questions or concerns about your situation, know that we are here for you, and we look forward to discussing those issues with you.