Russell Alexander Collaborative Family Lawyers has seen dramatic changes in family law since the coronavirus pandemic began one year ago.
The firm has seen family courts move to virtual hearings, fights among divorced couples over child custody and in-person schooling during quarantine, and an increase in separations and divorces from couples struggling during lockdown.
“The coronavirus pandemic has caused some of the biggest changes in family law that we’ve ever seen in a single year,” said founder Russell Alexander. “We’ll be seeing the long-term effects of this for years to come.”
The firm’s lawyers saw the changes almost immediately, as quarantine rules shut down courtrooms and forced lawyers to begin meeting with clients virtually using videoconferencing software like Zoom. Lockdowns also began to complicate existing custody arrangements, as divorced parents fought over visitation, traveling and managing home school.
Alexander said that the tension among spouses who were forced to spend most of the last year together at home, with few opportunities for going out or seeing friends and family also took a toll on marriages.
“We’ve gotten a lot more inquiries than usual from couples who are considering divorce after the pandemic,” he said. “The intensity of the last year has pushed some already-troubled marriages to the brink.”
Looking ahead, Alexander said that he expects family courts to continue holding some hearings virtually because they are convenient, while custody arrangements may even include some provisions for how to respond to future pandemics.