The law of domestic relations encloses relationships in the family or household. It is challenging how courts will continue to process the cases they have during the pandemic. As the need to follow safety measures is concerned, their operations are limited. In effect, the discussion of domestic issues takes more time.
Moreover, the access to courts and legal services has been strenuous. Courts and legal practitioners also face these barriers to secure their safety against COVID-19 exposure. Given this point, they have to think of ways to accommodate the filing of cases.
During the pandemic, domestic violence is one of its feared effects. If courts and domestic violence lawyers are out of reach, victims have to suffer and remain stuck at home with their abusers. In such cases, the court and legal representatives have to act. Keep on reading, and see how they manage to address such situations.
How Courts Work During the Pandemic
Each court differs, but overall, their functions are essential. Some people need them to address legal matters and give the best measure for these situations. In this case, each court has to act in another approach, now that the pandemic is around. Here’s how they took action amid COVID-19:
- Legal counsels take calls from petitioners where they interview the involved people about the situation.
- Ex parte hearings proceed over the telephone, knowing that there are children associated with the case.
- Additionally, some courts use electronic systems to file their petitions. People can access this site even during holidays or weekends.
- Courts can issue emergency orders online, while attorneys provide legal services in a remote setting.
- Remote proceedings also take place. The people involved in the lawsuit will appear in the video. Meanwhile, it has become less scary if the case is about violence and there’s a need to face the abuser.
- Although some courts remained open or partially open, they observed limited in-person hearings. Social distancing is a must, and courtrooms undergo regular cleaning.
- Some courts require those attending hearings to be vaccinated, and they have to wear masks.
- Some courts reschedule hearings and prioritize those that require immediate jurisdiction.
Given these points, each party has to understand the effects of COVID-19 on their domestic issue. Aside from that, they also have to ask their legal counsel. As legal counsel, they need to provide their clients with all the details about their specific situation. In effect, litigants will know how to act during this pandemic relative to their domestic cases.
COVID-19 and Domestic Relations
Family law is such a broad concept in the world of law. Here are a few changes now that the COVID-19 pandemic is still existing:
Parents have to find opportunities to adjust schedules to allow them to care for their children by themselves. Most of them do this instead of hiring babysitters or seeking help from an extended family member. This way, they can look after the safety of their children against COVID-19.
Child custody and visitation.
Changes have to take place in this aspect, especially if they have health issues. In this case, both parents have to agree with the options to keep their child safe. The custody schedule should not put the child’s life at risk.
The pandemic has caused many people to lose their jobs. One of them can be a parent who provides support for their child. In this case, they can request to modify an existing agreement. But then again, the other party may or may not agree with it. Aside from that, these modifications can’t happen without going to court.
In general, what needs to come first is the child’s welfare. Their interests will always remain the number one priority in any condition. In this case that COVID-19 exists, parents have to come up with a joint decision for the health and safety of their children.
Both sides have to agree to the option that the child will benefit from the most. Courts will remain accessible to help children and families address their cases. Moreover, courts will continue to improve for them to operate in the new normal.
Courts still have to move forward as domestic cases increase during the pandemic. It is their utmost function to help those with legal matters. Aside from that, they have to gauge which case they should tackle first based on its severity. If safety is at stake, then they have to be first on the line.
Overall, court operations are one of the affected areas during the pandemic. By all means, they need to find measures to continue serving justice on legal matters.