The daily river of legal disputes in New York Family Courts was suddenly dammed when filings and hearings were suspended in the initial days of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, with the reopening of courts statewide on Memorial Day weekend, “the dammed-up waters of litigation rushed forth.”
Judges and attorneys statewide anticipated a rush of filings when the courts reopened. With so many families seeking guidance about how to handle the unprecedented challenges presented by COVID-19 closures and restrictions, “part of whatever happens next could include even more work for judges.”
Williamson, Clune and Stevens, family law firm in Ithaca, Syracuse, Elmira and Binghamton, is prepared to offer knowledgeable counsel and experienced representation for families who need legal assistance with family matters because of COVID-19.
Family Court Challenges Due to COVID-19
After the court closings in early March 2020, family courts only received emergency filings related to domestic violence, child abuse or juvenile delinquency. As families and law firms rush to submit new filings for family courts across New York, the most common issues are anticipated to involve:
- New divorce filings
- New adjustments to spousal/child support agreements
- New adjustments to joint custody arrangements
Therefore, in addition to handling emergency filings submitted during the closure and that are still ongoing, the courts will be overwhelmed with families seeking guidance or changes to existing agreements.
Some of these will likely include a parent paying child support who lost their job, stay-at-home orders that interfered with joint child custody arrangements and children being out of school staying at home, placing an unanticipated burden on one parent over the other. Moreover, many parents were concerned about children staying with frontline healthcare workers, and the possibility of exposure to the coronavirus.
Others will have experienced tremendous pressures due to COVID-19 and are ready to file for divorce. Forced separations or an inordinate amount of time at home in close quarters may have had unintended and unforeseen consequences.
Experience Matters with Complicated Family Law Issues
As the Family Courts get busier post COVID-19, it is more important than ever not to settle for inexperienced lawyers to handle your legal needs. The overcrowded New York Family Court system will prompt many lawyers to push for quick settlements that may not be in your best interests. And, facing the possibility of months-long wait times before your case can be heard, you may think accepting the settlement and cutting your losses is the best option. This can be especially true if you are facing financial pressures related to your claim.
Moreover, an inexperienced lawyer will not have the seasoning or status within the court system to work out acceptable arrangements. You could be left with far less than the best arrangements for your family or your children. These unstable and unpredictable times are when experience counts the most.
Williamson, Clune and Stevens, family law firm in Ithaca, Syracuse, Elmira and Binghamton, NY are your community-focused family law professionals with decades of experience. Since 1978, our firm has represented Central New York families before the Family Courts, leveraging our knowledge, experience and connections to produce the results they deserve.
Don’t be intimidated by possible long wait times for court hearings or looming financial problems because of disruptions caused by COVID-19. Contact Williamson, Clune and Stevens at 888-863-3341 or 607-273-3339, or send us a message online, to schedule a consultation. We can offer hope and reliable counsel regarding your family law matters in New York.