Trying to get court settings for hearings in family law cases is a difficult proposition in normal times. Final trial dates are often available no less than 8 months, and up to 18 months, into the future, with the possibility of a continuance. And that was before the Courts closed to non-essential matters and all trials because of COVID-19. All cases set during the closure are now in need of reset and will have priority over newer cases. All hearings needed in pending cases but deemed non-essential and hearings in all new cases will be competing for available Court time, that was already very limited. When the Family Courts finally fully open for business, their dockets will be inundated and taxed more than ever.
Cases in the Collaborative Divorce process have not been impacted by COVID-19, merely made virtual by Social Distancing restrictions. Team meetings and offline meetings continue to take place as scheduled, on the date and time, and with the frequency, desired by the parties. Transparent exchange of information continues.
Cases are being resolved and submitted to the Court’s as Agreed Decrees and promptly entered by the Courts (who are still accepting and entering agreed orders). New Collaborative Divorce cases are being initiated and are moving forward as if the courts were completely open. The rush to the courthouses, once they fully reopen, and the limited availability of the court’s time, will have absolutely no impact on a Collaborative Divorce case.
And of course, the Collaborative Divorce case will proceed in privacy and not in open court and will be focused on resolving both parties’ goals and interests, as they deem best for themselves and their families, without the added emotional distress and long-lasting damage too often caused by adversarial litigation.
Again, the most efficient, effective and private way to obtain a divorce remains through a Collaborative Divorce. COVID-19 has just brought that reality to the forefront.