New York State, particularly the NYC-Metro area, is under strict quarantine and distancing protocols during the Coronavirus outbreak. While these conditions are difficult for everyone, there are additional stresses and concerns for our family law clients. This article discusses some of the family law issues that our attorneys are actively engaging during this crisis. Our office, although remote pursuant to government orders, otherwise remains open and fully accessible.
I. Mediation and family dispute resolution The Coronavirus “downtime” is a great opportunity for those looking to divorce with the assistance of a mediator, or to convert oral agreements into formal legal documents. Our firm has certified family law mediators to help resolve the difficult issues that typically arise from unstructured negotiations.
II. Parenting concerns The current conditions pose extra challenges for parents with time-sharing (visitation) agreements/orders. How do you safely navigate children moving between households during these times? What if the child or other household member (e.g., elderly grandparent) is in a high risk group or gets sick? Some parents have also struggled balancing working from home with the increased childcare demands. We are working hard to constructively resolve these problems and assist parents (who may not always see eye-to-eye) in managing this crisis. We are also assisting parents with crafting joint Coronavirus prevention protocols to guard against the spread of this virus during parenting exchanges and parenting time.
III. Support The economic shutdown is creating problems for both those who pay, and those who receive, child support and/or maintenance. We are in contact with many clients who are having a hard time paying due to the drastic measures preventing them from working. We also have clients who are suffering due to not receiving much-needed support in this crisis. If Coronavirus has affected your support, reach out to us immediately.
IV. Emergency cases Certain categories of family law cases have been deemed emergencies by the courts, and are continuing to be heard throughout the shutdown, albeit with some modifications. These categories include domestic violence/orders of protection cases and child protective services matters. The skilled attorneys at our office are continuously engaged in these matters throughout the shutdown. If you feel that court intervention is required on an emergency basis, call us right away!
V. Socially distance but intimately accessible While our attorneys and staff are complying with the government mandates to stay away from our office, we are using advanced technology and our strong spirits to keep in contact with our clients. We are conducting client meetings, mediation sessions, settlement negotiations, staff meetings, and even court appearances through video conferencing software such as Zoom and Skype. All our phone calls and emails are being answered. We are ready to assist you throughout the Coronavirus shutdown.
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Bruce Provda has been practicing law for nearly five decades. He is known as one of attorneys for divorce and family law in New York. His vast knowledge and experience guide many clients through complicated circumstances, towards the best possible outcome.