COVID-19 & Divorce Court Backlogs: How Divorce Mediation Can Help

divorce-mediationEver since COVID-19 made its debut, nearly every aspect of life has been altered – including the timetable for divorce hearings. Due to lockdowns and social distancing orders, courtrooms in California and across the country have seen backlogs in divorce proceedings. Some families in need have had their hearings delayed for months on end. Other states have even begun assigning former judges to cases in an attempt to make the bottleneck more manageable. Furthermore, courts have turned to virtual solutions to streamline the filing process. 

However there’s another option that nixes the need for a court date, cuts the divorce timetable, and keeps judges out of the decision, as we’ll later discuss. 


COVID-19 & Courthouse Shutdowns

As if divorce wasn’t already difficult enough to go through, the COVID-19 pandemic has made it that much worse. Over the past two years, divorce proceedings in California have bottlenecked due to courthouse shutdowns out of COVID-19 safety concerns. To compensate for this, courts began offering new ways for spouses to take emergency actions throughout the pandemic. These measures include remote hearings and e-filings, which bring a new level of convenience to the divorce filing process.


A Nationwide Hinderance 

California isn’t the only state experiencing a bottleneck of divorce hearings either. According to AP News, the Maine court system will be assigning retired judges to delayed divorce proceedings in an attempt to clear over 6,000 cases that have been stalled since the pandemic’s beginnings. The initiative began in late March 2022 and will last through June 2023, with former judges refereeing divorce cases where both sides have legal representation. To streamline the backlog of cases, these former judges will be working to settle cases without a trial. 


What Are Your Options?

As you can now tell, COVID-19 has made it frustratingly difficult to lock-in a court date. Virtual hearings and e-filing are nice alternatives, but many find it hard to trust the confidentiality of remote meetings, or the integrity of a virtual testimony. Plus, technical issues such as weak WiFi or low bandwidth can cause delays to time-sensitive divorce hearings. There is, however, a more straightforward option that could help you reach finalization much sooner, and without a judge making the final call.

Instead of waiting months for a court date, consider divorce mediation with a knowledgeable family law expert. No scheduled court date is needed, the timetable is effectively cut, and control over family decisions will remain in your hands – not a judge’s. 


Has Your Court Date Been Backlogged? Choose Divorce Mediation.

Divorce is an emotional journey to endure. On top of the bitterness and anger which often result from a formal separation, the subsequent legal battles tend to make the whole process even more painful. At the Law Offices of Jennifer Owens, we revel in the power of choice. When spouses face divorce, they’re presented with a slew of decisions with a handful of potential outcomes. Our attorneys are believers in the best possible outcome, where a former couple chooses peace over destruction, so that they can finally move onto their next chapter. We can help with that. No matter your desired path – divorce mediation, a negotiated settlement, or even litigation – The Law Offices of Jennifer Owens will achieve the best possible outcome by reaching a settlement that keeps all involved parties in mind. Visit our website to review our family law services or contact us online for a free consultation

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