As our societies start to open back up after being pretty much shut down due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, the courts are beginning to open as well. Courthouses and courtrooms are especially tricky to open up because they are high-traffic areas that thousands of people go through each day.
While you can file for divorce, including custody, child support, alimony, and property division during the coronavirus pandemic, the health crisis may affect the timeline of your case. In this blog article, we’ll provide an update about the current situation with family law courts in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, and explain what you should do if you want to proceed with filing your case.
The Status of North Carolina Family Law Courts During Coronavirus
As of June 1, family court hearings in Mecklenburg County are beginning to resume. The first cases that are being scheduled are ones that were already scheduled between March 13 and May 29 when most hearings were continued. Also, some motions are starting to be scheduled. Mostly, the courts are trying to handle these remotely via video conferencing.
Uncontested Divorces Are Proceeding
Right now, you can still file for an uncontested divorce in North Carolina and get the divorce complaint served on the defendant (your spouse). This will start the process. Once you file, there is an initial 30-day waiting period for the defendant to file an answer. In an uncontested divorce, we do not expect an answer to be filed but must still wait for this 30-day period. This is always true, not just during coronavirus — so, if you’re confident you want to proceed with an absolute divorce, you may as well file now and take care of the 30-day waiting period. Once the 30-day period has expired, the case will be scheduled for hearing. You should not need to appear for the hearing. Although it may be slightly longer to get a hearing date, this process is resuming the way it was before the virus.
What About Family Law Issues Like, Custody, Property Division, and Child Support?
As with absolute divorce, you can file claims for child custody, child support, and property division (equitable distribution), but there are still some delays in getting hearings. However, if you need to file, you can at least start the process. The courts are scheduling hearings on motions and temporary relief, such as temporary child support and post-separation support. Also, part of a property division case requires a number of pretrial procedures before you get to court and those are still proceeding remotely.
What About Agreements or Settlements?
You can always resolve your case with an agreement or settlement. If you do an agreement that does not involve a court filing, that agreement is a private contract between you and your spouse. This does not require anything from the court and you can resolve the issues. Even if you need a consent order, which is an agreement that is put into a court order, you can still get those handled with minimal delay.
RELATED ARTICLE: 4 Things You Should Know About No-Fault Divorce in North Carolina
Myers Law Firm: Helping Clients With Family Law Cases in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County
At Myers Law Firm, we’re here and helping our clients every day during the coronavirus crisis. You can contact us by email or telephone, and we can meet with you and handle your initial case evaluation through a phone call or video conference.
If you want to move forward with a divorce filing or a claim for child custody, child support, or property division, we can help and there’s no need to wait — contact us today. To get in touch, call our offices at (888)376-2889 or fill out the quick contact form on our website.
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.