How Will COVID-19 Affect My Family Law Case?
First of all, we are thinking about all of our clients and all women and children in Virginia at this time. No matter your life circumstance – whether you have kids, whether you are elderly, or whether you are just trying to keep your job, everything right now is hard. Schools in Virginia are closed for at least two weeks, perhaps indefinitely. Businesses have reduced hours, and we are limited to take-out and delivery at restaurants. Even the courts have limited their availability to only emergency hearings for 21 days. Those of us with kids are probably going crazy trying to homeschool.
All of these changes certainly will likely affect your family law case. But this is not a death sentence. Most law firms in the area are still open. Although most of the work is being done remotely, there is plenty that can still be done:
• Have consults with prospective clients via phone and video conferencing
• Have phone calls and video conferences with clients about any issues in their cases
• Email with opposing counsel and Guardians ad litem
• Issue and respond to discovery.
• Organize documents for an upcoming settlement conference, hearing, or trial.
• Draft and edit separation agreements
• Negotiate and settle your case!
Fortunately, most family law cases involve LOTS of negotiation and most family law cases do settle, and negotiation can definitely happen despite COVID-19.
The attorneys and staff here are available by e-mail, phone, and video chat to answer questions about your case and keep things moving.
Fortunately, the courts are open for emergencies. So, if you need a protective order or an emergency custody hearing, let us know, and we can get you to court. Unfortunately, non-emergency hearings are continued until at least April 6, 2020. Big decisions about your finances may have to put off until we know how the economy will fare as a result of COVID-19. For example, you and your husband may not agree to list your house as planned until we know more about the future of the housing market.
If you are home and going stir crazy, you can use your time productively – take the time to write a journal/timeline about your spouse’s behavior during this time. Gather the financial documents that you need for your case. Call your bank and have them email you historical records. Check in with your kids and try to use this time to grow your relationship with them.
Bottom line – we’re here for you and we want you to be better than ever once this crisis passes. Check back in for more updates and articles specific to COVID-19 and other family law issues.