Coronavirus’ Effect on Courts

The following content is current as of March 20, 2020. We will be monitoring the situation closely and updating information over the course of the coronavirus pandemic.

Depending on the process chosen,  divorce can often involve formal court proceedings which means that you must rely on a public system to resolve a private matter.  The risk and uncertainty imposed by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) has called for the CDC to encourage Americans to practice “social distancing”  and currently not gather in groups. 

Coronavirus’ Effect on Courthouse Operations

With the rapid spread of Covid-19, The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been advising that people avoid public spaces and gatherings as much as possible. This means being prepared for disruptions to daily life as the virus continues to spread through communities. 

One of the major risks of a litigated divorce with Coronavirus is the potential effects it could have on future courtroom hearings and scheduling. According to NBC Health News, “Federal courts around the U.S. are beginning to reduce and restrict operations or access in view of the coronavirus.” 

Seattle courthouses were the first to postpone their trials, and New York has followed suit. In Mid-March New York State began restricting access to those entering the courthouse for any reason if they have traveled within the last 14 days. As of March 16, 2020, the New York State Unified Court System has postponed all non-essential court cases until further notice. They advise that those affected reschedule their Court days once normal business resumes. This includes litigated divorce hearings.

In the early stages, It was hard to predict exactly what the future aspects of our lives would be influenced by this pandemic. But a divorce that is postponed can cause extra stress and pain to every party involved. How do you cope with a divorce that is postponed due to covid-19?

Covid-19 Coronavirus Contamination in Courthouses

Hundreds of thousands of Americans enter the courthouse daily – whether for jury duty, work, or their own Court case. We normally might not consider the influx and turnover in such a commonly used public space. But public health concerns raise our awareness.

If you choose a litigated divorce, you are exposing yourself to a largely used public environment. Traditional courts require that, at the very least, the lawyers representing litigants are present for a court date. Regular court proceedings put you at high risk of contracting coronavirus in a place where people regularly congregate. It also poses the risk that you can carry the virus to your children and loved ones.

Alternative Divorce Methods

Postponing a divorce causes unnecessary pain and hardship to everyone involved, but your health needs to come first. There are ways you can handle a divorce during the coronavirus epidemic while Courts are closed.

Collaborative Divorce

In a collaborative divorce, two attorneys are present with their clients in an informal, private setting. Here, they work on resolving various issues that accompany divorces with neutral experts helping the couple along the way. 

Divorce Mediation

Divorce mediation is a private, solution-focused alternative to divorce litigation. Sessions are held in a private setting with a single lawyer helping talk through the divorce process. 

Both methods of divorce allow you to divorce with dignity in a time where litigation procedures are not possible.

Learn More about Collaborative Divorce and Mediation

By participating in a collaborative divorce, you avoid the formal court setting and outdo the risk of receiving favorable decision making from a judge. You also avoid the risk of relying on the structure of the court system, and any upcoming disruptions it may have due to Covid-19.

Divorce is difficult enough without the worry of Covid-19. There are support systems for people with a delayed divorce, considering a divorce, and those that have a finalized divorce.

Listen to Divorce Dialogues Podcast to learn how to divorce with dignity. Contact Miller Law Group today to find out what alternative method to divorce will work best for you during a public health crisis. Stay safe and healthy!