One of the consequences of the statewide shelter-in-place order laid down in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic may not seem as important as the devastating loss of life and suffering the disease has caused thousands of New Yorkers. But the effective shutdown of the state’s Office of Court Administration for the past several months meant that nobody could initiate a divorce in New York.
But that has finally changed. As of May 25, the court is once again open for civil trials in New York’s five boroughs, Long Island, and upstate portions of the New York metro area, such as Westchester County. That means if you have decided to get divorced but had to wait, you can now get the process started.
Electronic divorce filing is back online
Of course, this does not mean things are completely back to normal in the New York City area. The announcement means that you and your divorce attorney can electronically file documents related to non-emergency matters, such as divorce.
Divorce during a pandemic
If you and your spouse are splitting amicably, it may only take a few filings to finish your divorce. However, things can get complicated if there are a lot of valuable assets to divvy up, such as the family home and other real estate, retirement savings, ownership in a business and family heirlooms. Although face-to-face meetings may not be possible right now, technology can allow you to talk to your divorce attorney, and for your lawyer to negotiate with your spouse’s representative.
The divorce process may look a little different for a while. But now that courts are accepting filings again, you can proceed with ending your marriage and turning the page to the next chapter of your life.