In the past few months, COVID-19 has hit most industries hard, and family law is no exception. For lawyers and citizens alike, the impact of COVID-19 on the family law system has resulted in challenging circumstances that force legal professionals and clients to rethink how they handle disputes.
Today, we're exploring the impact of COVID-19 on family law, and what family law firms like our team here at Beatriz Zyne, P.A., are doing to combat the pandemic and continue to provide clients with legal services in these challenging times.
Courts (& Attorneys) Move Online, Setting a New Precedent
Courts across the country started to close their doors as the COVID-19 pandemic escalated. As it currently stands, many courts are still only holding emergency or vital hearings in court.
Of course, courts can't just postpone non-emergency hearings forever. To deal with the backlog, courts started using videoconferencing tools like Microsoft Teams to hold court hearings.
At Beatriz Zyne, P.A., we're employing similar measures to ensure we can help clients with casework both in Florida and out-of-state.
The legal market has traditionally lagged behind other industries technologically, but that's been changing rapidly in recent years. Most forms for legal processes like divorce can easily be found online, as can laws.
A shift towards making attending court more accessible via videoconferencing tools further accelerates the legal industry's technological growth.
Even as courts start to re-open for hearings, don't expect to see lawyers and court dropping online hearings any time soon. Having the option to hold hearings and do casework online can help individuals who lack access to reliable transportation make court dates more easily, and increasing the accessibility of courts is never a bad thing.
Courts & Lawyers React to New Challenges in Family Law
The COVID-19 pandemic has influenced family law in a multitude of ways.
For example, the coronavirus has become a hot topic during custody disputes in recent months, as we wrote about in this blog. Between struggling to navigate financial instability, schooling kids online, and balancing work with the risk of exposure to COVID-19, custody arrangements are becoming a battleground for co-parents across the nation.
Many legal scholars also predict a spike in the divorce-rate as quarantines come to an end. China set a precedent for the trend, with multiple cities in the country experiencing record numbers of divorce filings once COVID-19 quarantines lifted. For courts and lawyers already struggling with a backlogged caseload, it could be difficult to handle a sudden influx of divorce cases (although most lawyers wouldn't complain about the business).
On a more somber note, domestic violence incidents also seem to be increasing across the US. A study by the University of Texas at Dallas found that intimate partner violence incidents rose by 12.5% while Dallas' shelter-at-home order was in effect. Law enforcement professionals, courts, and lawyers must be vigilant and brace for an increase in domestic violence cases in the coming months.
At Beatriz Zyne, P.A., we stand ready to help Americans in Florida and out-of-state navigate their family law disputes.
To learn more about how we can give you the legal counsel you deserve during these challenging times, contact us online or via phone at (305) 876-6138.