Crossroads Family Law Cases and COVID-19 - Your Case Can Proceed… But Differently
Marcus Sixta, Family Lawyer, Mediator, Founder of Crossroads Law
CROSSROADS FAMILY LAW CASES AND COVID 19 - YES, YOUR CASE CAN PROCEED… BUT DIFFERENTLY.
Over the past week it has become clear that we are living in extraordinary times which require changes to the way we operate as a firm. Some of these changes are out of our control and some we are instituting to protect the well being of our clients, staff and lawyers.
Many of our clients of course have questions and concerns about their files and whether their family law case will now be put on hold. The good news is that we have plans in place to ensure that if you need the help of a family lawyer we can provide legal services to meet your needs.
One of the core values of Crossroads Law since inception has been to take a client centred approach to the practice of family law. We know that family law issues create a tremendous amount of stress for individuals and families as a whole. COVID-19 is only compounding the anxiety felt by our clients. We therefore want to assure you that we are up and running at full capacity despite COVID-19, by making some adjustments to our practice and operations.
All of our lawyers believe that alternative dispute resolution, or resolving matters outside of court, is the best option for most family law files. There are of course exceptions, but generally mediation, collaborative divorce or arbitration are more efficient and flexible ways of resolving disputes. These services are going to be critical in the weeks ahead.
At this time the courts are essentially closed for al but the most urgent of cases. However, files can still be mediated or arbitrated as these are private services. Moreover, mediations and arbitrations can occur remotely (online dispute resolution) and files can be redirected from court to mediators or arbitrators fairly easily.
Therefore, we believe that your file does not have to be put on hold. There are a number of remote dispute resolution options available, including good old fashioned negotiation over the phone or by letter.
Furthermore, as a business, we must ensure that we are doing all we can to follow the recommendations of our local health authorities to protect the well being of our clients and staff. Therefore, we have made the following changes which will be effective immediately.
- We will no longer be taking any face to face meetings with clients, except to witness or notarize documents. Meetings will take place over the phone or by video conference until further notice.
- All staff and lawyers will be working remotely most of the time. As we are a paperless law firm, all of our client documents are accessible online in electronic form. All staff have laptops and will be working from home.
- We will only be accepting service of documents by email or fax. This will reduce the need to attend at the office for service.
- As mentioned above, the courts have been closed but for the most urgent applications. This includes child abuse, child abduction and restraining orders. We can redirect files to remote mediation, arbitration or collaborative divorce until the courts reopen.
- Our staff and lawyers have been informed about the transmission of COVID-19 and will be taking appropriate measures to reduce transmission like cleaning surfaces and regular hand washing.
Should you have any questions or concerns about any of the above, or if you have a pressing issue that needs immediate attention, please reach out to the lawyer responsible for your file. We are here to help.
Lastly, if you are feeling anxious or nervous that’s okay. The whole world is right there with you. Just know that this is all temporary. Things will eventually return to normal. We just need to ride out this storm.