In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the signs are everywhere… in some places, literally. In the Tampa Bay area, a billboard contains the name, website and phone number for a divorce law firm on the bottom half. On the top half, it says in large all caps “COVIDIVORCE.” In fact, #COVIDivorce has been trending on social media for months. What all of this reflects so clearly is one undeniable reality: the COVID-19 pandemic and its stay-at-home orders, job losses and distance-learning educational issues have upped the stresses on families and have increased the number of married spouses who no longer want to be married. If the events of these last 6+ months have led you to the unavoidable conclusion that your marriage is hopelessly broken, be aware that the courts and legal system remain operational during this time of pandemic, so you should reach out without delay to contact a knowledgeable South Florida family law attorney.
As CBS Miami reported in early September, the uptick in spouses contacting local family law attorneys about getting a divorce began just three weeks after the government’s stay-at-home orders went into effect in Miami-Dade and surrounding counties. While the courts were closed for a time, local family courts have begun to utilize various emerging technologies to re-start the provision of services while still minimizing the risk of mass transmission of COVID-19.
For one, the courts in Miami-Dade County have Zoom hearings. These hearings allow for you to move your case forward while still maintaining the optimal level of distance. Additionally, the courts in Miami-Dade County are now encouraging parties who are handling their cases without an attorney to sign up on the Florida Courts e-Filing Portal system. That system allows parties to turn in their pleadings and other documents to the court over the internet.
While the expansion of digital technology is a good thing generally, trying to handle your divorce case on your own – even with the benefit of the e-Filing Portal – can be filled with potential problems. As a self-represented party, you may be uncertain about which pleading form to use. You may be unsure about what information you’re supposed to include (or leave out) in filling out the forms you’ve retrieved from the court website. You may be uncertain about what supporting documents you need to submit to the court.
Be aware that making a mistake while handling your case on your own can have many negative consequences. Filling out a pleading incompletely may lead to a delay in getting your divorce. Worse, failing to provide the right supporting information backing up your assertions may leave you open to a divorce judgment that is unfair to you with regard to equitable distribution, alimony or child-related issues.
In other words, when it comes to getting the best possible outcome – and getting it as efficiently as possible – it is much better to go with a pro than to go it alone. Count on the knowledgeable South Florida family law attorneys at Sandy T. Fox, P.A., where we have an extensive track record of providing our divorce, child custody, child support and other family law clients with the skillful and effective representation their cases and their families deserve. Contact our attorneys online or by calling (800) 596-0579 to schedule your confidential consultation.