Those seeking a divorce during the pandemic found it hard to file and, in most cases, nearly impossible. Now that the courts have been reopened, there is a backlog of cases, and it will take a little longer to file for divorce. Those looking to file a divorce will need to prepare to be patient. The divorce process can be challenging and there is no reason you should do this alone, especially during these times. When you need a Manhattan divorce attorney, contact Randi L. Karmel, PLLC.
How Things Were?
On March 13, 2020, New York City courts announced a delay/temporary suspension on all criminal and civil cases. Due to the court closures, many were forced to postpone their divorce until after the pandemic passed. The court was only operating in emergent cases.
After nearly 3 months of closure, the courts resumed in-person operations on June 10, 2020. The courts began operating on an essential basis in June 2020 and all other matters were filed through the NYSCEF system by e-filing.
When the courts reopened for filing and in-person matters, there was a decrease in the divorce papers filed. The first month of operations, the courts saw 1,265 divorce papers filed, which is about 50% less than they commonly see each month, says the state Office of Court Administration.
How Things Are Going?
More than a year later, on May 24, 2021, all judges and court workers across the state of New York returned to their assigned courthouses. We saw a decrease in filings during the court closures and through e-filing, however, as soon as the courts began to accept all cases (not just emergent) divorce filings increased 30% post-quarantine.
If your case is not urgent or an emergency situation, you should expect a long wait due to the court backlog. The courts were closed for three months and all cases during that time were canceled and had to be rescheduled, combined with the influx of cases e-filed near the latter end of 2020, which means you should not be surprised if your case is not immediately settled.
In some cases, courts have reported that it can take up to three years to finalize a divorce case. In general, New York City courts have 140,200 civil cases pending and over 49,000 criminal cases pending from 2020. It is important to get your case on the calendar as soon as possible to avoid an even longer wait.
How We Can Help You?
The New York Unified Court System has posted COVID-19 Divorce Resources on its website. This is a good place to check executive up-to-date court orders and restrictions.
Even though the courts are now open, you can still file a case through their e-filing system and we, at Randi L. Karmel, PLLC can help you through the process. Divorce law can be complicated, strenuous, and now longer than before, which is why you meet with a Manhattan matrimonial and divorce attorney today.
Contact us for a consultation to discuss your unique matrimonial or family law matters by clicking here or calling us at 212-755-0224.