Access to the Courts During COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus)
It is incredibly difficult to reach the courts and deal with emergency situations during the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) lockdown. Sadly, we are receiving more calls relating to emergency situations resulting from the COVID -19 (novel coronavirus) crisis than one would think. We are all operating in unchartered territory. The Courts are struggling to provide access but saying that there are bumps and wrinkles that need to be worked out still is an understatement. What we need to keep in mind, is that this is anything but intentional.
Attempting to address the magnitude of the caseload in New York City virtually is a never before attempted and daunting task. The rules change daily. While we are told that the Courts are open for emergency situations (such as protective orders), navigating the course to designate a matter “essential” is a challenge. The Courts have been asked to address the shortfall in access to pro se litigants and I trust they are working on it. However, if your matter is truly urgent, you’ll likely need the assistance of counsel to get through the morass of daily changing rules and procedures.
Counselors, like everyone else, are swimming in these unchartered waters as well. Everything takes longer. Simple procedural tasks are no longer simple. For example, after managing to get a matter certified by the Court as an “Essential Filing”, managing to arrange a telephone ex parte hearing to make my case for an injunction and succeeding, triumphing in persuading the judge to sign an injunction to stop a parent from removing a child from the United States without the other parent’s consent, I found myself struggling to find a process server to serve the Injunctive Order. The process servers aren’t working! The process service we use said they anticipate beginning service in 2-3 weeks! I must have the TRO served by Monday. So, more than a modicum of creativity and ingenuity must be summoned up during this unique time where sadly, the occurrence of domestic violence is up, people with pending divorces living together are at each other’s throats and we are tragically experiencing an increase in child abuse. All fallouts from COVID-19 lockdowns that no one talks about.
There are ever changing updates on the internet and Court websites regarding access to the Courts. But it can be confusing to the best of us who have years of experience navigating the system and likely akin to a foreign language to those not so acquainted. At the Mandel Law Firm we are working daily to stay abreast of the changes and to bring to the Court’s attention holes in the mechanics (like what to do when the process servers are on lockdown). We are here to answer your questions where we can and handle your matters in the most efficient means possible in these trying times.
Experienced Family Law Attorney in New York
The Mandel Law Firm has years of experience in handling family law cases and is on standby to assist with your legal matters. To schedule a consultation, give our office a call today at 646-770-3868 or send us a confidential message via