Getting divorced easier than ever in NJ thanks to pandemic
Divorce is never easy under any circumstances. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has made many already unhappy marriages even more unhappier.
But while divorce is never easy, the process in New Jersey sure is.
Sheryl Seiden, founding partner at Seiden Family Law in Cranford, said the divorce process has become less costly and less time consuming during the pandemic. There is no travel time that is normally spent on a case going to court. Couples don't have to travel hours to get there or spend hours waiting for their case to be reached.
Most court proceedings are being held via phone, Zoom or Microsoft Teams. Court proceedings may have taken three hours in person. Now the process is taking about an hour.
The filing system is now electronic.
"I always joke with my colleagues that it took a pandemic in order to get us to be able to have this electronic filing systems where it's less costly and time consuming to submit the documents to the court," said Seiden.
For the parties involved, they don't have to take a full day off of work. They just need to allocate an hour or two in their schedule to be available for a virtual court proceeding. If they are going to mediation, they may need two or three hours, added Seiden. But before the pandemic when divorce proceedings were in person, the parties would have had to take an entire day.
The process has also become more efficient for the divorce attorneys. They have more time without long court delays and travel time, which provides more time to expedite cases and take on new clients.
"Now I can do eight things in one day where as in the past, maybe I could've only done four things in one day. So, certainly our time provides for more cases to be able to be reached," said Seiden.
The divorce process is also less intimidating and emotional. Couples are behind a computer screen as opposed to being in-person.
Seiden said she's hopeful that many of these new techniques will remain after the pandemic in order to make things less costly and more efficient.