Families across the world have had to adjust to a new way of life in the wake of COVID-19. From their working your daily job to running miscellaneous errands, life as we know it has vastly changed. Which leads many to wonder as the state reopens, what can we expect for the future of family law?
At Rozin | Golinder Law, we understand that many families have questions and concerns about how COVID-19 will affect their family law case. Here’s how COVID-19 could potentially change how family law matters are dealt with in the future.
An Increase in Divorce Filings
With couples spending more time confined at home, combined with the pressure of the pandemic, an increase in divorces and separations is likely. According to reports from China, where the epidemic first began, divorce rates doubled once lockdowns were lifted. Due to the sheer amount of couples requesting a divorce, government agencies are increasing the number of available divorce appointments.
The United States is already following a similar pattern. Obtaining a divorce has been more difficult during this time. While courts are beginning to reopen, services are still limited. Only a small number of judges and staff are allowed to work at the court, and only attorneys and those with appointments are allowed to be in the courthouse. Not only does this create a backlog of the number of cases that can be heard in family court, but it reduces the number of divorce cases that can be finalized.
More Virtual Legal Services
With an increase in divorce and other family law matters, courts are likely to increase the need for virtual services. Currently, New Jersey courts are allowing virtual divorce services. However, even once the pandemic has slowed down and courts return to normalcy, it’s likely this will be a more common practice in the future of legal proceedings.
New Jersey family law attorneys, courts, and those going through the process will have to evolve with this process as everyone learns how to navigate these uncharted waters. This means people will have to learn new software and develop new processes to ensure communication regarding non-emergency matters like a divorce can be remotely handled.
Additionally, when appearing in “virtual court” people will need to be sure to act and behave as if they were conducting matters in person. Therefore, attorneys and clients should dress in professional attire, have a proper background set up, learn how to use the required video platform, and be just as prepared, if not more so, than if they were in court. This type of court proceeding will be an adjustment for many, but one that must be made if virtual services continue in the future.
A Rise in Domestic Violence
Stay-at-home orders have forced many domestic violence victims to be socially isolated with their victims. Social isolation is already an all-too-common tactic that is utilized by domestic violence perpetrators. With little-to-no-contact with others during the pandemic, victims can start to rely solely on their abusers, which normalizes them to the abuse. This creates a vicious cycle that is hard to escape from.
Additionally, research has shown that the stress of a natural disaster can lead to an increase in domestic violence. Combining these factors with social distancing guidelines means victims will have a harder time getting away from their abuser and seeking help.
COVID-19 is far from over. Although the state is beginning to reopen, there will be lasting results from the pandemic’s impact. In these few months, we have already had a glimpse of what is to come in how we proceed with family law matters. During these unprecedented times, Rozin | Golinder Law is here to make sure our clients and those in need of family law guidance are informed on the vastly changing landscape.
Rozin | Golinder Law is always here to guide you through every step of the way. Call us at (732) 810-0034 to speak to our New Jersey family law attorneys about your family law questions and concerns today.