The spread of Coronavirus is the cause of many delays in industries across the board, including family law. Divorce courts' doors closed during the pandemic, but now that vaccines and health safety are on the rise, many of those courts have reopened their doors.
Matthew Cambó, a lawyer practicing in the state of Florida, who specializes in divorce cases, points out that, unfortunately, anyone going through a divorce at this time will still have to deal with a slower process as a result of COVID-19. Divorces taking place during and after the pandemic are congesting offices trying to catch up to the average operational pace. Cambó offers advice for those dealing with delayed periods during their divorce and a preparation guide on what is to come for those wanting to file for divorce.
COVID-19 Pandemic's Effect on Divorce
The Coronavirus pandemic heightened stress for all worldwide, adding a particularly unique load to separating couples and those going through a divorce. A study conducted in 2020 published in Wiley Public Health Emergency Collection surveyed two hundred and ninety-six parents either separated or divorced to gather more data concerning the challenges these individuals faced amid the pandemic.
The survey highlighted co-parenting, legal, and financial obstacles litigants seeking a divorce and had not yet started the paperwork experienced when beginning their divorce process. Those in the end stages of their divorce also found it challenging to make it final. Court and institutional closures resulting from the pandemic and public health orders lead to substantial delays and extensive legal difficulties in effectuating the incidental terms of their divorces.
Parents who were no longer legally together under the court of law before COVID-19's impact were confronted with court date problems such as the inability to set a court date for custody arrangement mortifications.
Widespread job losses led to many divorced and not-yet divorced parents experiencing financial hurdles and having to address legal, financial support issues, some of which were unresolvable. Financial support issues, along with miscommunication, uncompromising views towards virus protocols, accountability for a child's or children's remote schooling, timesharing, and access issues, were some of the leading causes of conflict for those in all stages of divorce.
Ultimately, pre-pandemic arrangements between many divorced or separated households, which may have once been considered stable, struggled to maintain balance and continuity under the weight of stress brought on by COVID-19. Compromise, flexibility, patience, communication, and planning are still the most important qualities to utilize while preparing for a divorce at this time.
Ways to Handle Current Divorce Delays
As the courts gradually reduce the restrictions on live proceedings, emergency and critical hearings are still being prioritized over non-emergency proceedings. Nevertheless, divorce litigants are getting into court faster than during the middle of the pandemic, thanks to time-saving avenues such as Zoom video conferencing. Proceedings that typically required only five minutes can now be addressed virtually, eliminating the usual hour waiting time spent in a court on stand-by for hearing, not to mention the time saved on travel and traffic.
About Matthew Cambó
Matthew Cambó is an associate attorney with Leinoff & Lemos, P.A. He has been recognized by Best Lawyers in America 2022 due to his exceptional focus on serving clients in family law matters. Mr. Cambó has a degree in Political Science and a J.D. from the University of Miami School of Law. He is licensed to practice in Florida and is a member of the Family Law and Young Lawyers sections of the Florida Bar.