The ongoing coronavirus epidemic has brought a high demand for lawyers. Legal work during the pandemic varies a lot, from advising employers on how to respond when an employee tests positive to the virus, counseling employees, and enforcing new rules to avoid the spread of the disease. Lawyers are working around the clock to guide their clients to avoid the possible negative effects caused by the pandemic.
Family law attorneys are also flooded with work amid the ongoing pandemic. As divorce rates are expected to go up during the lockdown, the best divorce lawyers in Miami are preparing to take on more work than just a few months before. Law firms across the country are preparing to handle the increased workload and have created special departments to handle coronavirus-related cases. Multidisciplinary teams were also created in larger law firms, focused on both family and employment-related cases.
The high demand for lawyers during the pandemic – what to expect?
Coronavirus is having a negative effect on many couples. The lockdown and other restrictions make family life tough, especially for couples who were already not getting along too well. The coronavirus outbreak is making couples sick – of each other. And divorce cases are rising fast and expected to rise even more during the next few months. Family lawyers are getting calls from new clients every day. Although many are calling looking for basic legal advice or asking questions related to family law, some are determined to call it quits with their spouses.
According to Jason Hopper, a family law attorney working in California, new clients are calling his office on a daily basis asking for legal advice related to divorce. According to him, clients realize the negative effects of the lockdown and see it as a preview to what their retirement may look like – and see that they don’t like what they see. The answer for many is obvious – getting a divorce, as quickly as possible. And there are a lot of clients making the same decisions – Mr. Hopper’s office had more than 500 consultations during the past two weeks.
The best divorce lawyers in Miami are not the only ones seeing a massive rise in divorce cases. Obviously, courts handle a huge amount of divorces during this period. Some local courts are prepared to handle the extra workload and ensure quick solutions, but others do not accept divorce filings. In the meantime, couples are getting their paperwork ready to file when the courts reopen to full capacity, depending on their location. Even though most couples are only starting their divorce proceedings, the courts will be flooded with divorce filings in a few months.
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Other clients are not so patient – some are calling their lawyers multiple times a day and ask when the divorce proceedings can start. In extreme cases, people are calling their family law attorney after hours or during weekends. For instance, Suzanne Bracker, a family lawyer working in New York, said that she got a call from a client in the middle of the night, saying that she has nothing in common with her husband but the children.
The rise in the number of divorce cases is not unexpected. The countries which were affected by the pandemic before the United States saw a similar spike in divorce cases. For instance, China, which was affected by the epidemic during February and March, saw a huge spike in separations during the lockdown. The government facilities were flooded with divorce cases, causing long backlogs across the country, especially in Xi’an, Dazhou, and Wuhan.
The causes behind this spike in divorce cases
The pandemic has changed how we work and how we spend time with family. The socio-economic consequences are dramatic across the country and they are visible at home. Recent data suggest that a record 40 million Americans have already filed for unemployment benefits. Job loss is a major stressful factor in families. It takes a toll on communication, it creates a negative environment for children and is a major cause for abuse. Quarantining couples find it difficult to live together at home for extended periods of time. They often feel anxious, depressed, or claustrophobic.
Similarly, couples often feel stressed about making important decisions. In many cases, these decisions, like moving to a new home, buying a new car, or starting a family, have to be postponed, increasing stress. People are advised to triple check when making decisions during the pandemic, especially because we cannot predict how the disease will evolve. A rash decision may seem a great idea at first, but may not be good for the long term.
The differences over safety and health precautions have also strained some couples. For instance, a spouse who does not believe the pandemic is real may cause stressful situations at home. This is especially dangerous if the couple has children, increasing the risk of abuse.
Advice for couples who are considering filing for divorce during the pandemic
Most courts have imposed restrictions on couples who want to file for divorce. However, there are some courts that receive applications and handle them quickly. Call the best divorce lawyers in Miami to find out if you can file for divorce in your local court. No matter what your final decision is, you should prepare for the divorce proceedings. Talk to a good family law attorney and get the paperwork ready in order to get ahead of the tidal wave of litigation.
Even affluent couples are considering divorce. Although previously unsure about divorce, wealthy clients who are negatively affected by the pandemic are now starting their divorce proceedings. In many cases, they are divorcing in order to protect assets and income. Property division is hugely important for these clients, who often want to get better deals during the ongoing pandemic. Clients are advised to file for divorce as soon as possible (or when the restrictions are lifted), because the value of the assets is set in stone, on the day the papers are filed.