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How do I get through a divorce in New York during a pandemic?
July 22, 2020
How do I get through a divorce during a pandemic?
The COVID-19 pandemic has posed numerous problems for clients going through a divorce. However, the courts are innovating and figuring out new ways to prosecute cases through to a final resolution using virtual technology.
The court system is working out alternate ways to have remote hearings and trials but that causes significant problems. The technology hasn’t quite caught up with civil procedure. However, this new way of approaching cases might long be the future of the court system. Actually, traveling to court in order to appear before the Judge is not always a positive experience because of traffic congestion, security checks and having each attorney talk over the other one. Now, the courts are handling cases through zoom or business Skype. In my view, the New York Supreme Court Matrimonial Part Judges can actually mute one party over the other, making oral argument more productive and giving the Judge more control over the Courtroom. The other benefit to virtual court appearances is that most attorneys charge for travel time to court so this translates to big savings for the clients.
If you were undergoing a divorce during the pandemic in Manhattan, you will sign that as to custody matters it has become more difficult to obtain assessments for the children during psychological evaluations. Psychological evaluations that will be done remotely are being recommended only on cases which are highly necessary such as cases involving mental illness or drug abuse.
Another issue the Courts and clients are struggling with is therapy for the children. Especially when it comes to children, keeping their attention to the computer screen during a therapeutic session with a four-year-old is nearly impossible without the assistance of one parent or the other. Often times child therapy needs to occur without a parent in the room. Thus, remote therapy impedes the therapeutic process because a child of that age cannot sustain their attention for more than a few minutes without re-direction. These challenges however have been met with innovations and creative problem solving between the parents themselves because of the need of flexibility due to the lack of easy access to the court system.
New York has recently opened at court system so that we can electronically file new cases in divorce and child custody. The electronic system provides for the filing of a verified complaint in a divorce action and/or verified Answers to same, as well as for the filing of motion practice. The electronic court system also allows you to file post judgment enforcement motions and emergency applications.
even during times when the court system worked methodically, divorce poses challenges for clients. Clients must work hard to prepare net worth statements and gather documents for the exchange of financial discovery. Clients also must sometimes engage other experts to value businesses which must be distributed equitably. In a divorce, where there is money, the valuation of the assets can be difficult. The frantic experts are challenged because a business that was thriving prior to the pandemic may now be depreciating in value. Therefore, it might be timely to file a divorce action if your business is going bankrupt at this time but has a chance of revival after the pandemic.
Another focus of attention in a divorce case is securing a life insurance provision in a settlement or court order so as to protect the recipients of spousal support and child support.
Due to the fact that life insurance premiums are expected to rise in large part because of the COVID-19 pandemic, some parents wont be able to afford it and this will pose a problem in the settlement of this issue because the issue of obtaining life insurance for the benefit of the children is often times a bone of contention.
If you are considering a NYC divorce during these trying times you might want to consider a collaborative divorce because this can be done remotely and might be more efficient at arriving at a settlement agreement then filing during a pandemic when it is likely that there will be a backlog in cases. For more information contact us at www.nycdivorcelawyer.net. Thank you. I hope this information has been helpful.
Lisa Beth Older, Esq.
your NYC divorce lawyer