|Is my matter going ahead? Can I still formalise my agreement? Are the family courts still open? Can I appear by phone or do I have to go in? What happens if something happens in my matter that needs to be dealt with urgently? I don’t want to go to Court what other options are still available? Will dealing with my matter now take longer?
We are now operating in a “New Normal”. There are many questions and a lot of uncertainty about what options are available to help you resolve your family law matter, what options are best for your situation, and what support is available to get you through this time.
The way we all work, socialise, and live has changed for now. So, let’s ease some of your stress by answering some questions for you.
The Family Courts – are they operating?
Starting family court litigation should still be a ‘last resort’ option when an agreement cannot be reached, where negotiations are exhausted/stalled, or if your matter is urgent.
The Courts are still operating however, the way in which they are operating has changed. No doubt there may be further changes as the pandemic progresses but for now, most (not all) matters and applications (including Divorce Application) are being dealt with by the Courts by telephone.
What this may means for you is that the Courts will be prioritising matters to hear, and there may be some more delays in progressing through the court system, particularly if your matter is not as urgent as another.
Negotiation, Mediation, and collaborative practice
Negotiation – We are still working hard to help our clients resolve their disputes – the only difference is that our communications have now moved more to email, telephone and video conferencing. Engaging in negotiations with our help is all systems go!
Mediation and collaborative practice – Now more than ever, considering mediation or collaborative practice as an option to help resolve your dispute should be at front of mind. If suitable, it can help you resolve your dispute faster and at less of a cost to you than court proceedings.
So how can we do this in the era of “social distancing” and “lockdowns”?
We have a network of mediators that are still undertaking mediations implementing either social distancing in face to face mediations, or conducting mediations by telephone or video conferencing. Our collaboratively trained lawyers can also facilitate any collaborations with other practitioners whether that be via telephone or video conferencing.
Formalising agreements reached
This is business as usual – any agreements reached are documented properly and filed with the Court online.
If you have any concerns, questions about how, and what options are available to you to help you resolve your family law matter, please contact us.