SSRGA’s Matrimonial, Family and Reproductive Law Group (“MFRLG”) wishes everyone well during these difficult, unprecedented times. Circumstances permitting, we would normally seek comfort and safety with our families and friends. We understand that unique issues are being raised while everyone is being advised to remain safe and cautious by staying apart – issues like parental access, transitions of children between households, loss of employment or the closing of a business (temporarily or permanently), great uncertainty in the financial landscape, etc. In other words, issues that go right to the heart of what matters most – our families and our financial well-being.
Even though our physical offices are temporarily closed, we are still working with our clients on their cases, preparing for when the courts reopen. The Supreme and Family Courts are currently only accepting emergency applications on “essential” matters, i.e. applications for orders of protection, child protection cases involving removal applications, and applications related to the coronavirus. Virtual court operations were launched this week so that counsel and parties can appear for essential and emergency court matters remotely via Skype for Business. Although non-essential court functions were suspended by an administrative order, starting next Monday, April 13th, the courts will take preliminary steps to provide remote access for “non-essential” pending cases. In some of our cases, judges have already begun conferencing via telephone certain non-essential matters to move those cases along.
Although the courts have deemed the bulk of their caseload non-essential, we recognize that the matters we deal with and work on are essential to our clients, and we take that to heart. Right now, with so much uncertainty and, oftentimes, fear, our clients must continue to comply with court orders and agreements with respect to parental access to children, visitation and support. When things become more regularized, family law judges will surely take into consideration a parent’s actions and behavior during this time, whether they were flexible or accommodating to the other parent, whether they tried to provide a semblance of normalcy and stability for their child during an extraordinary time, etc. If, however, an arrangement becomes unsafe or untenable, please reach out to us. Our offices may be closed, but we are here for you at this time and will address your needs with you.
– The SSRGA Matrimonial, Family and Reproductive Law Group