The pandemic has forced parents and lawyers alike to find creative solutions to their unprecedented issues while awaiting their hearing dates. COVID-19, the global pandemic, has wrought havoc across the globe, and had forced many businesses to close in an effort to slow the spread. This means that many had been furloughed or displaced from their jobs, unable to maintain their child support payments as is. Those parents that were considered essential had to figure out childcare arrangements. Domestic violence saw a sharp uptick in reports.
Like many businesses, the Courts also decided to close to everything except for emergency hearings – such as protective orders. This left parents with custody or support issues to have to work with the co-parent to find a solution. Even though the Courts have begun to reopen, they’ve got a backlog of cases that had to be rescheduled as a result of the pandemic along with a slew of new filings to hear. Some cases have been pushed as far back as 2021 at this point, leaving attorneys to creatively resolve alimony and child support issues exacerbated by the economic downturn.
Shelly D. McKeon, a Montgomery County family lawyer, said the courts have already rescheduled one of her five-day trials to April 2021, and the longer time a trial needs, the more likely it will be pushed. However, the backlog and closures has made a number of McKeon’s clients more willing to discuss and resolve alimony and child support issues together, she said. “It’s driving people to have to communicate with each other or reach agreements, even if it’s just a temporary month-to-month thing,” she said.
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