Coronavirus Implications On Divorce And Custody

by McConnell Family Law

Coronavirus Implications on Divorce and Custody

As you may already know, the Connecticut Courts are closed to routine matters until further notice. Some courts will hear priority 1 matters. The courts that are hearing priority 1 matters have been reduced to ten statewide.  All other normal court matters remain suspended for the duration of this declared health emergency.  When the Courts do resume normal business operations, their already busy Case Docket will be that much more over-burdened.

This is an extremely stressful time for everyone.   It may be particularly stressful for you and your family as the Coronavirus panic adds more fear and strain to an already difficult time in your lives.   There may be changes in income, employment, childcare schedules, health, and other unforeseen circumstances that directly impact your lives. As with all things related to this pandemic, the unknown produces fear and anxiety.

We are here to help.  The best way to confront anxiety is with action.  For this time, we have shifted our initial consultations to electronic meetings at a discounted rate. Whether you are a potential client or an existing client we will have attorneys available before and after normal working hours.  Regardless of what you are facing, there are lots of things that can be done without the need for the Courts to be open. Indeed, even under normal circumstances, the overwhelming majority of work takes place outside the courthouse. While much of our staff is working remotely, our firm can perform your work from our home offices – and we can meet you in person by appointment only if the circumstances merit an in-person meeting.  Bear in mind, it is our intent to lead by example and respect the advice of our state and local leaders and limit all in-person meetings except in rare cases that meet the definition of Priority 1 court matters.  Regardless, please keep in touch with us regarding any changes in your life or any concerns that you may have at this time. Again, much can be accomplished even if the courts are essentially closed and we are hard at work and here to help.

Here is some specific guidance for existing clients:

  1. Be Healthy and Mindful.  Model good behavior for your children by following the recommendations of experts.  Stay informed with reliable apolitical media sources. If you have children, do not keep the news on 24/7.  Encourage your children to ask questions and always answer them truthfully in an age-appropriate manner.
  2. Be Compliant.  Absent unusual circumstances – like self-quarantine – be sure to follow existing Court Orders.  If this is impossible, then communicate the circumstances. We are here to help with these decisions.
  3. Be Creative and Flexible.  It is foolish to expect that nothing will change when people are being advised not to fly, vacations are cancelled, and schools are closed.  In addition, some parents will have to work extra hours while others may be out of work. This adversity can be an opportunity to extend an olive branch to the other parent that will more likely than usual be reciprocated.  
  4. Be Transparent. If you or any family member is sick or quarantined, be sure to share that information with all concerned, but most especially the other parent.  If your job is or is likely to be impacted, share that information. Increase the level and frequency of communication as fear of the unknown is only magnified during this challenging time.

We will be continuing to work on your matters throughout the court’s limited access period to reach the best resolution possible for you.  The tallest mountain is always just on the other side of the deepest valley. Together we will climb, and together we will achieve Peace Through Strength!

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