Divorce during COVID is on the increase – a recent news headline was “Life’s Too Short to Stay in a Bad Relationship”. The stressors of being together at home, working from home , and having the children home all day has pushed many fragile relationships to the edge. Metro Atlanta Divorce Courts are open for business, although procedures vary by County and are subject to change at any time.
Most Atlanta area Court hearings are held remotely by Zoom or WebEx. Hindson & Melton has processed COVID divorces with great success, settling cases promptly and efficiently when the parties are motivated to get it done. Mediations are conducted safely and remotely with each party and lawyer dialing in from their preferred location – home or office. Our experience during COVID has been that lawyers have cooperated to try to accommodate each individual’s health and safety concerns and cooperated to try to achieve out-of-court settlements acceptable to all. Court personnel are appreciative of the parties working to resolve their issues cooperatively, saving judicial resources for cases that need emergency attention and intervention. In our experience, the metro Atlanta Courts are processing our settlement agreements and issuing final divorce decrees quickly. Where a final hearing is needed, the Courts have scheduled virtual hearings and ruled on the spot so the case can be finalized.
Are both parties required to have attorneys to get a divorce? Not necessarily. Ethically, an attorney can represent only one side of a divorce case. Representing both parties would be a conflict of interest for the lawyer. However, it is possible for one party to be unrepresented during settlement discussions if he or she is comfortable doing so – reserving the right to have a separate attorney review settlement documents prior to committing to the terms.
An experienced attorney can help you “cut to the chase” on financial and parenting issues. Having a good idea of what would happen if you went to Court gives you information you need to resolve the case by agreement – often saving thousands of dollars in attorneys fees.
Hindson & Melton is open for business. We can meet with you in person at the office in a large socially-distanced conference room (with masks), outside in our office courtyard seating area, over the phone, or via Zoom. Call 770-939-3936 to schedule an appointment with Karen Hindson, or 770-512-8383 to schedule an appointment with Joy Melton. We look forward to serving your legal needs with forthright advice, kindness, and compassion.
Karen S. Hindson 9-4-2020