What’s the position regarding divorce and mediation during the coronavirus crisis?
We’ve received a number of phone calls during the past few weeks from clients eager to know whether the courts are still hearing family law cases during the current coronavirus crisis. It’s a good question, as the courts have decided to deal only with certain types of cases for the time being. But in fact, the answer is: yes, they are. Not only can you still get a divorce during the coronavirus outbreak, the courts are also dealing with other family law cases – although not always in the usual manner.
We can still deal with your divorce
Here at RWV Advocaten, we’re doing our best to abide by the measures imposed by the government and are working from home as much as we can. We went digital a few years ago, so we can all access the information we need from our homes. And we’re all used to taking audio and video calls on mobile phones. In other words, we may not physically be in the office, we’re still all at work and easy to get in touch with.
Court proceedings in writing where possible
Wherever possible, the courts are keeping their doors firmly closed and are hearing only a small number of cases in open session. Nonetheless, cases are still being heard, where possible in writing. This means that one party presents a petition to which the other party may then respond. Once the parties have had a series of opportunities to respond to each other’s documents in writing, the court decides whether it can deal with the case in writing. If the court want one of the parties to explain a particular point in one of the documents, this is done in the form of an online Skype hearing.
Priority for urgent cases
If a problem arises for which you urgently need to find a solution, such as an issue involving children, the court will give priority to your request, which will be dealt with as a matter of urgency.
As is clear from the above, the government’s coronavirus measures mean that we cannot meet in person at our offices in Leiden. This is not to say, however, that mediation is no longer on the menu or that we have had to suspend all mediation procedures that were underway when the coronavirus outbreak occurred. If you would like to start a mediation procedure, we will be more than pleased to do so online, using a video-conferencing tool such as Skype or Microsoft Teams, which enable the parties to see and talk to each other without actually being in the same room. Our experiences to date have been very positive: our online mediation meetings have worked out very well.
Any questions about your divorce?
Please feel free to get in touch with us if you have any questions about divorce, maintenance payments, parental responsibility, access rights or any other family law problem. We’re always ready to help, even – and especially – during the coronavirus crisis!