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How to handle the family law court system during the pandemic of Covid 19

In recent months the Orange County Court system has gone through some very drastic and revolutionary changes on how to manage Court hearings and trials.  The old method of in person hearings in front of a Judge are a thing of the past for now.  Orange County has implemented the video conference through the internet as the prime means of hearing cases for the parties.  Judges can take evidence and testimony while the parties are online and on a video chat mode.  There are several means of doing this already being used by the Orange County Court system.  Primarily Judges use Webex.  An alternative to Zoom meetings.  In addition some judges use Microsoft meetings.  If you find yourself unable to use any of these methods of communication used by the courts then there are alternatives to consider. Please read further for the non video way to resolve your family law case.

For those facing divorce, custody issues, post judgment issues, or any family matter, there are alternatives to consider.

Mediation is a process in which the parties hire a neutral individual who has been trained, and certified as a mediator to help them reach a resolution. In family law cases, the mediator is typically someone who has had significant experience practicing family law, or may be a retired family court judge. The mediator does not advocate for either party nor does the mediator give legal advice.. After the parties reach an agreement, the mediator typically prepares an agreement and advises the parties to seek their own separate lawyers to review the agreement, and make sure it is fair for both of them. Then, one of the parties will typically have their attorneys provide the agreement to the court, and in the case of the divorce, obtain the official judgment of divorce. In certain cases, such as ones in which there are complex issues, mediation will be conducted with each person having their own attorney participate as well.

Collaborative law is a process by which the parties to a family law matter agree to settle their case without turning to the court system for the resolution of disputes. Collaborative cases take a “team” approach, where each party has their own lawyer, but the purpose is to act as a team in order to reach the best resolution for the family. There are two ways that make the collaborative process particularly unique. The first is when the parties agree to engage in the collaborative process, they are committing that they will not leave the process for litigation. In other words, if the going gets tough, the tough stay. If a party elects to leave the collaborative process, then that person has to obtain brand new counsel. This is because an essential part of the agreement is to remain in the collaborative process. The second unique characteristic is that there is typically a mental health professional who is part of the team, and a financial expert as well. These people guide both parties towards a resolution that is best for the entire family.

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