As longtime New Jersey divorce attorneys, we know there is never really a “good” time to divorce. Doing so in the middle of a pandemic certainly has its challenges, but that doesn’t mean you need to shelve your plans entirely. Just understand that courthouse limitations, social distancing guidelines, business failings, job losses and school closings may cause some delays and complications. With the help of an experienced divorce lawyer, you can still work toward moving on to the next chapter.
ABC News reported the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers’ members expect a “deluge” of divorce cases in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. This could be due to rising tension owing to forced proximity, but some divorces were already underway when lockdowns were announced.
First, know that New Jersey courts remain limited for in person hearings, but are still processing cases and having virtual appearances for non-emergency matters. If you are a victim of domestic violence, know there are resources available, and our family law firm can assist you in facilitating a safe exit plan and restraining orders (temporary and permanent).
Since the Courts are continuing to operate virtually, you can move forward right away with a New Jersey divorce if that is your choice. Your first step will be consulting with an East Brunswick divorce attorney.
Talk with a lawyer.
Your attorney will be able to outline any new processes, as well as your rights and obligations. An attorney will send correspondence to your soon-to-be-ex, advising them to secure legal counsel (if they haven’t yet) so the attorneys involved can take the next steps.
That may include an exchange of discovery documentation needed to identify and address all relevant issues, including division of assets and debts, parenting time, child support and other issues.
This process can take place over secure conferencing apps like Zoom.
You can both use a single attorney to act as a neutral mediator for both of you (which can reduce time and expense) or you can each be represented by your own lawyer with a third-party mediator. Mediators help facilitate the discussion between both parties and work toward a divorce settlement that is largely agreeable to both parties.
Many mediations and related meetings were already taking place over the phone or via conferencing apps. The transition during the pandemic has not been as jarring as it has been for those attending court hearings, etc. Rozin Golinder Law is able to provide mediation services to those seeking to go that route.
Assistance of Technology
Mediations aren’t the only thing being held virtually or telephonically. Many final hearings for New Jersey divorce are being conducted this way as well.
Although it is true that some courts may be rescheduling certain hearings until they can be conducted in-person, it is also true that courts aren’t eager to create a backlog of divorce and family law cases either. The longer shutdowns persist (or reoccur), the more likely it is we will see court hearings held with assistive technology.
Contact us at (732) 810-0034 or email us through our website.