Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Safe New York Divorce
The recent pandemic of COVID-19 has changed the way that we New Yorkers are going about our daily lives. All of us at David Centeno Law are concerned about the health, welfare and safety of everyone in New York, the United States and throughout the world who are or may be affected by the COVID-19 virus. We are all confronting challenging and unprecedented obstacles in our personal and professional lives. In the days and weeks ahead, we will unite and work together to conquer this threat to our health and American lifestyle.
We remain open during this COVID-19 pandemic and committed to serving our clients with the highest level of client service. Following CDC and DOD guidelines, we have proactively shifted our operations to protect the health and safety of our team, clients and community at large. We will update this page, if, and when, necessary.
A question that we often get is how will the coronavirus (COVID-19) affect people’s ability to get divorced. Let’s take a deep dive.
Our law firm is uniquely situated to help you get divorced despite this health crisis. While not everyone qualifies for an uncontested divorce, one of the benefits of our uncontested divorce services is that there are no court appearances or office visits required. You don’t need to hop on the subway to come to our office and you don’t need to appear in Court. Obviously, this has the added benefit of helping you remain well, without the need for unnecessary travel and away from crowded environments where you may be exposed to the virus. So long as you and your spouse are in full agreement about all of the terms and your spouse is not going to retain counsel, we can get your divorce done with no office visits and no court appearances. While you will need to get your signatures notarized when you sign your divorce documents, our services help you cut down on unnecessary exposure to the coronavirus.
As of today, New York has quarantined an area in New Rochelle to help combat the transmission of the virus. Of course, if New York officials start quarantining larger areas, for example all of New York City, then people’s movement will be further restricted. If additional areas go into quarantine or lock down, it may become challenging to get documents signed and notarized, or to effect personal service of documents on an uncooperative spouse.
As of now, the New York State Court System is still operational. If New York State closes the courts, then the adjudication of all cases, including divorce matters, will come to a halt. This would necessarily result in a delay in divorce turn around times. Once COVID-19 is contained and people and institutions can resume normal behavior, the courts would reopen with a backlog of cases to deal with. Courts may be shut down only in specific areas to help contain the virus. While Governor Cuomo has declared a state of emergency, he has indicated that, as of today, he does not intend to shut down all schools or other institutions, so it is highly unlikely that all New York courts would be shut down. It is possible that courts in specific areas may be shut down for a period of time. This is a novel and fluid situation that we are monitoring to best serve our clients.
If the courts were to close down, our concern would be for people with serious contested divorce matters, where there may be child abuse, domestic violence, dissipation of marital assets, etc. We are keeping track of whether courts are slowing down or shutting down and will update all of our clients accordingly. We, as one of New York’s premier divorce law firms, remain committed to helping all of our clients in these uncertain times to the very best of our ability.
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