COVID-19 Will Impact How Attorneys and Courts Handle Business in New York
COVID-19 has turned life upside down in the U.S. and around the world. With all of the upheaval and uncertainty, everyday concerns tend to get lost in the shuffle. Still, for those families who are dealing with life's major events like marriage, divorce, custody, and visitation, it can be especially hard to know what to do.
Fortunately, attorneys and courts in New York are taking steps to ensure that essential functions continue to operate as normally as possible. In-person meetings may not be available, but most lawyers and even some courts are conducting virtual meetings and proceedings to ensure that important matters do not get overlooked or forgotten.
Getting married has gotten more complicated, but that doesn't necessarily make it impossible. If a couple already has their license, it is still possible to proceed with the ceremony. However, the size of the gathering will be severely limited, and some couples are opting to have their guests attend virtually.
Postponing the event also is a possibility. If you have already signed contracts with vendors and venues, then it may be worth consulting with an attorney to determine what kind of latitude your existing contract grants.
What if you just got engaged and you want to enter into a prenup? Your attorney can meet with you on the phone or virtually to discuss the terms of the agreement, and a draft can be forwarded to you via email for review. It's even possible to execute a prenuptial agreement during the quarantine, as these documents can be signed with virtual notaries in New York State.
Questions of child custody and visitation are already complex, but COVID-19 has only made things worse. Fortunately, jurisdictions such as New York City are now using virtual operations to conduct family court proceedings. This means that critical decisions can still be rendered.
What if your child is quarantined in the custodial parent's home? Or while in the non-custodial parent’s care and custody? How will you, as co-parents, navigate this new temporary world we are all living in? While each parent has custodial, access and visitation rights, the courts cannot compel the other parent to allow you (if you are not the one in quarantine) into their home. What alternative arrangements can you both make to accommodate the need of the child to have time with both parents? Consider additional contact through telephone and video chat applications such as FaceTime and WhatsApp. When you cannot work it out together, consult with a family law attorney who can provide you with the information that you need so that you can maintain contact with your children.
Contact the Sabra Law Group at (646) 472-7971 for more information about how attorneys and courts in New York are reacting to the Coronavirus pandemic.