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Closed Courts Due to Coronavirus? How to Fast Track Your Divorce

Back in 2013 my wife and I went on our honeymoon to Europe. We ended up traveling around to a handful of different countries and were fortunate enough to experience a great deal of good times and even some cultural experiences that couldn't be duplicated anywhere else in the world. It was a great trip not only because we got to experience things that were different from our home here in Texas but because we also got to experience things that were very similar. A lot of people travel to see a world that is different than their own. I like to search for things that are similar to what we do here in Texas but maybe just different enough to make them novel. It's those type of things that I think bring us together as a worldwide community of people. 

However, one of the things that I was struck with in my travels on the European continent was how different Americans and Europeans treated their daily lives in terms of convenience. Think about your daily life here in America. We are able to start the day pretty much as early as we would like , eat essentially whatever foods we would like, have whatever types Of coffee served in whatever size cups we would like serve to us in our vehicles on our way two jobs that may be in a comfortable office environment or it is increasingly likely those jobs take place in our homes. 

When we want to eat a meal, restaurants are open nearly all day and menus that are extremely vast in terms of options depending on the food that we would like to eat. The grocery stores are pretty much open whenever we would like and have foods that are becoming increasingly more diverse and varied. Think of any recipe you can and even the most obscure of ingredients are likely at your local grocery store just a mile or two from where you live. This is a function of many different factors but represents in large part the sophistication of the American consumer and our mutual expectations on what product should be made available to us. 

My point in telling you all this is that we as Americans are spoiled in terms of our ability to take advantage of convenient and desirable options when it comes to a number of different facets of our lives. I don't mean to tell you this as a way to make us feel bad or guilty for the things that we have period I mentioned it more so as a positive 4 us as American citizens. I think it's a good thing to have options in convenience, when utilized correctly, is certainly a benefit to us. It allows us to devote our free time to work, leisure, family and other endeavors that are more desirable than grinding your own coffee beans or searching hours long for a restaurant that sounds good at that moment.

Here is why I mentioned Europe at the outset of today's blog post. On one night after traveling during the day to a new city my wife and I were looking for a restaurant to have dinner. In terms of conveniences, one of the most convenient things about any major European city is that subways connect the town from North to South and East to West. All we need to do is become familiar with the subway schedules and how to purchase tickets and we could find our way around town No matter if we had ever been there before. In my opinion, this is where the convenience of most European cities began and ended.

the night in question when my wife and I arrived in this town We were hungry after not eating on the train. Once we dropped off our bags in our hotel room we took to the streets in search of a restaurant. We didn't even have a particular genre of food in mind when it came to try a place to find dinner. We just wanted to find a local restaurant that served food that we couldn't get at home. We didn't think that this would be too much of a request to make but we found out very quickly that the things we took for granted at home are not always available even in another developed part of the world. 

What my wife and I didn't consider was that the day we were traveling was a Sunday. Apparently, in many places in Europe businesses of all sorts tend to close rather early on Sundays as it was and is a traditional day of rest. What we found was that most restaurants that we were interested in were closed. After a search in the city streets up and down for seemingly close to an hour we were left with one restaurant a mile or more away from our hotel that didn't particularly sound that great but was the best we could do given the circumstances.

Do I tell you this story to make you feel bad for my wife and I? Certainly not. There are a lot of worse circumstances a person could find themselves in then two honeymooners not being able to find an exact kind of restaurant at an exact time on a given night. That's not the point. When I told my wife that day still holds true in my mind: we Americans are Masters of convenience. Like it or not, we are used to getting what we want when we want it. that shows a certain level of progress and success in creating a world like that for ourselves, but it can also lead us to feeling disappointed when you can't get a meal, an outcome or something else in the exact amount of time that you want.

It can be said that our modern world accommodates those of us who want microwave results but that true success is more of a slow cooker in terms of how long it takes to achieve a desirable result and anything ranging from academics, to career to a divorce. One of the most significant impacts of this coronavirus pandemic was that it has forced us to slow our lives down nearly to a screeching halt in many regards. What we saw at the beginning of this pandemic was a government response to the virus that not only caused a slowdown in the economy but caused many governmental functions to come to a halt, as well. 

The courts were not immune to these government led slowdowns. In fact, one of the most significant happenings that caused me to figure out rather quickly that this pandemic was not going to be anything to laugh at was how jury duty was shut down in the middle of March. For a court system that is already notoriously slow at getting people hearing and court dates in many regards, it had to have been very serious all jury duty to be postponed until a later date. Remember that we were dealing with a virus that not even public health officials knew that much about. There is simply insufficient data to be able to make decisions and as a result the prevailing theory was it was better to be safe than sorry. 

If you'd like, you can give the office a call and talk to me about whether or not that was a smart decision. It's an interesting discussion when I'd be happy to have with you. However, what we can't really debate is that at this time it is pretty evident that this is the main way that a lot of people in positions of power in especially those in government have opted to deal with the virus. While the family courts and courts in general are more or less open now with a few restrictions for social distancing and the like it is entirely possible in my opinion that if conditions worsen prior to a vaccine being developed that another shutdown of government business could occur. 

This means that if you are interested in filing for divorce a government shutdown could lead to your case being put on the backburner until the courts can reopen and conditions are safer for people to be in close proximity to one another. I am not saying that this is likely or that it is even something that I would ever predict happen again. However, a year ago we would have never foreseen or conceived of something like this happening period now that it has in fact happened it is much easier to see it happening again in the future. That does not mean that you should constantly worry in fear that your divorce will never happen. 

What it does mean is that if you have filed for divorce you need to have a plan in place that considers what you can do to speed up your divorce in the event that the courts closed down. In today's blog post from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. I would like to share with you some information about how to fast track your divorce even if the family courts were to close for a period of time due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Work with your spouse rather than against him or her

The most straightforward piece of advice that I can give you in today's blog post would be to work with your spouse rather than against him or her in order to combat the delaying of your case due to a reduction in courts across the state due to the coronavirus pandemic. At this point in time I have no information to give you about the openings are closures of any courts that here family cases across Southeast Texas. Gradually over the course of the summer and fall months the courts have become more open in terms of allowing in person hearings to occur and things of that nature. As of now, I don't believe that will stop anytime soon. 

As we head into 2021, I have optimism that the courts will continue to operate with some degree of efficiency in terms of hearing cases and completing family law cases of all sorts. However, even though the courts may be nearing full operation in terms of staff in hearings that does not mean that you are completely comfortable with going to court to have your case heard. Some folks out there are still fearful or reticent to go into public for anything but the essentials. While this is not an opinion or position that I share with you I won't disparage you for holding it. If you find yourself in a position where you are concerned about your safety during this pandemic, then you will especially want to pay close attention to this section of today's blog. 

For starters, the best way for you to avoid unnecessary trips to the courthouse would be to work with your spouse in negotiating your divorce. Even though this may sound like the least pleasant thing in the world right now it is worthwhile for you to attempt to work out as many of your problems with him or her directly rather than leave it up to a judge. What you are saying by telling yourself that your spouse will not work with you in your divorce is that you are more confident that a judge can work with you on the divorce then your spouse would be able to. Despite your feelings about your spouse, this is foolishness for a number of reasons for most people.

For one, there is no way that a family court judge will know better how to solve your problems than you and your spouse. Somewhere, beneath the anger an animosity that you and your spouse may share from one another, is a reasonable person who just wants the divorce to be over with as much as you do. For that reason, you should attempt to get past those negative emotions and get to the person who is capable of working with you to conclude your divorce case. This means going into negotiations with a plan in mind and being able to adjust that plan on the fly if need be. 

What I like to do in divorce cases is to ask the opposing attorney what their client wants and then compare it to what our client wants. Sometimes you would be surprised to learn that the goals of two parties who are seemingly at odds are somewhat similar. From there, myself and the other attorney can usually work to get the parties close together while ensuring both sides have the opportunity to voice their concerns and push back against topics that are not in their favor. This means that you should talk to your attorney early and often in your case about the subjects that are most important to you so that you all can solve those problems as quickly as possible. 

Once you and your attorney have established the most important things to you in your case you should work towards coming up with a concrete plan with your spouse to eliminate any delays. What can drive me crazy in a divorce is when the other side seemingly attempts to delay mediation or a hearing on important subject matter in the case. Like you, most family law attorneys want the case to be completed in a timely and efficient manner. Nobody stands to gain from delaying or pushing things back. For that reason, I would work with your spouse on setting dates for mediation and then if necessary temporary orders hearings or a trial. 

You would be surprised to learn just how awesome a divorce can be completed with minimal turmoil if the parties only realized how important it was to work with themselves on negotiation, developing plants that are specific in terms of what each side wants to accomplish and then creating guideposts as far as hearing dates and mediation dates. These are three ways that you can fast track your divorce during this time of pandemic and may be able to hopefully avoid problems or disputes along the way. While some degree of acrimony in a divorce may be unavoidable you can avoid the worst of those problems by putting into motion these three pieces of advice. 

Questions about the material contained in today's blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan

if you have any questions about the material contained in today's blog post please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free of charge consultation six days a week in person, over the phone and via video. These consultations are a great way for you to learn more about the world of Texas family law as well as about the services provided to our clients by our attorneys and staff. 


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