Emergent Family Matters During COVID-19
Submitted by New Jersey Family Lawyer, Jeffrey Hark.
The COVID-19 crisis has caused for the temporary suspension of most in-person Court proceedings in the State of New Jersey. Family Courts in particular are attempting to manage the Coronavirus situation remotely. Divorces and motion hearings for custody, alimony, child support, and parenting time are being handled over the phone. Courts are limiting staff, including Judges, in the physical Court locations. Judges are doing their best to manage cases at their homes.
While Family Judges continue to decide divorces and motions as best they can over the phone or through video conference, having to manage phone numbers, reception, and logistics of remote Court proceedings reduces the amount of cases Judges are able to handle. Because of this, there are many cases being postponed and pushed aside.
Family Courts still have to handle emergent matters as soon as possible. Because of the nature of emergent matters, that of which include custody, child abuse, domestic violence, drug issues, etc., in-person proceedings are still taking place in the Courts.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, if you or someone you know believe that you have an emergent family matter, you should contact an attorney right away. Often times attorneys can work out these matters without the involvement with the Court. If Court is necessary, attorneys have the ability of managing remote hearings with Family Courts, so you and your family members are not exposed to Coronavirus during these times.
Please keep in mind that pursuant to the law of New Jersey, family issues that are solely monetary are not deemed emergent matters. There is no doubt that many families are facing financial hardship during the COVID-19 situation. Courts will recognize this in the future, but on an emergent application, any financial relief will likely be denied. If you have a family financial issue you believe is emergent, you should discuss the issue with an attorney.
At Hark & Hark, we help parents with divorce, custody, domestic violence, child support issues and more.
In recognition of these trying financial times, we are reducing fees and working with clients to come up with manageable payment plans. Initial consultation is always free and we are available remotely.
Michael J. Collis, Esquire