With the COVID-19 pandemic affecting practically every business in some way these days, many are wondering how closures of divorce lawyer practices as non-essential businesses are affecting those in need of services.
For the most part, court buildings are closed and most hearings delayed for weeks or months until businesses and government agencies will be permitted to reopen for regular business once more - and even then it won't be "business as usual."
Combined with an increase in new divorce requests, the situation has generated a considerable backlog in the Texas family court system.
Fortunately, many dedicated divorce attorneys in Texas are using technology and other methods to continue serving existing and new clients who are seeking a divorce.
Can You Still File For Divorce?
Yes, you can still file for a divorce in Texas even while some people are staying at home and the family court is closed and won't be hearing new cases.
Just contact a local divorce lawyer by phone or email to discuss your needs and start the process - it’s that simple.
How Are Divorce Lawyers Handling Cases Now?
Though divorce filings frequently involve many one-on-one meetings in a local divorce attorney’s office, those meetings are infrequent even as offices are continuing their own COVID-19 restrictions.
Instead, many lawyers have moved to using digital technology as a tool to host virtual meetings with clients to talk one-on-one, just from different locations.
Using phone, email, fax, and videoconference, it’s possible to accomplish almost everything required for filing a new divorce petition to get the ball rolling.
Similarly, lawyers can also begin child custody proceedings if there are children involved in the divorce.
Finalization of your divorce may also be possible in some circumstances by using digital technology and alternate methods of finalizing court orders.
Legal Options Available During COVID-19 Restrictions
Beyond retaining the ability to initiate necessary legal paperwork to file for a divorce, there are other services still available using videoconferencing technology when closures prevent one-on-one meetings.
Divorce mediation is highly recommended by the Texas family court as a means of keeping more divorce cases out of court during COVID-19 and it can also be handled through video calls.
Mediation is a preferred means of negotiating the critical decisions required for getting your divorce approved, especially right now.
It may also be possible to obtain an actual judge’s order for more pressing cases or hire a private judge when mediation fails.
Private judges are either retired or those who did not win re-election and can hear certain pressing divorce cases so they can proceed as if in an actual courtroom.
Divorces Don’t Have to Wait During COVID-19
Though the process might seem slightly different and involve video conferences as well as the exchanging of documents using alternate methods, you can definitely initiate a divorce during COVID-19 social isolation orders.
Contact a local divorce lawyer who is prepared to use online and videoconferencing technology to get the divorce process started.
Other types of legal cases may have to wait for the courtrooms to re-open; however, divorce and child custody concerns many times can be handled virtually for everyone’s convenience!
Reynaldo Garza, III - Attorney at Law
680 East St. Charles St, Suite 600
Brownsville TX 78520