2020 created numerous family challenges that no one expected at the beginning of the year. You don’t need me to tell you that, as we all lived it last year!
Some families were able to navigate these challenges after sorting out the disruption caused by COVID-19, while others were not. That’s why the legal system exists to sort out serious family issues and act in the best interest of the involved parties.
I had a front-row seat to these challenges fighting for my client’s rights in Texas Family Law courts. I also saw first-hand how the pandemic changed the way that courts hold hearings. Technological changes were coming, but the pandemic accelerated the rate of change, shifting to virtual hearings.
At the end of the day, I understand how important it is for you to have a knowledgeable and experienced legal representative fighting for you, especially if you are unfamiliar with the legal process or need qualified representation to navigate the system in your particular county.
No matter what you walked through last year, what you anticipate in 2021, or what surprises come your way in the new year, I will be here to help you. Consider some of these changes that will carry over from 2020.
Changes in Family Law Matters in Texas
In 2020, there were distinct changes in the types of family law situations that families experienced. I saw an uptick in domestic violence issues leading to protective orders, parents not following court orders, modifications of orders for child support because of job loss, and some parents using COVID-19 as an excuse to withhold a child from the other parent.
The pandemic exacerbated problems that may have already existed in the home or brought issues to the surface that had been tucked away. People being stuck inside together, having their routine disrupted, or experiencing financial stress from job loss contributed to many domestic issues.
I saw everything ranging from excuses to legitimate situations that required expert legal support. For example, how to adjust child custody arrangements if one parent contracted the virus and needed to quarantine for two weeks.
Sometimes there was a legitimate situation that needed to be sorted out in court. Other times, parents withheld children without cause. This is why there was an increase in enforcements of orders for child custody during the pandemic. There were times when I needed to file a writ requesting that the court force a parent to return possession of a child.
Getting the court involved in enforcements was one of the major areas of focus for me in 2020. I also helped file more modification suits to modify existing orders because of changes in circumstances.
I expect that many of these trends will continue in 2021 as we continue to work together through issues that were introduced or accelerated by the pandemic. The same applies to how the courts will go through the actual process of hearing cases.
Changes in How Courts Handle Family Law Cases
There were positives and negatives to how Family Law courts in Brazoria County, Fort Bend County, and Harris County adjusted to the pandemic.
Globally, COVID-19 made things very difficult for family law, especially shifting to electronic hearings in the courtroom. It was very challenging working with the courts as they embraced change at different paces. How they went about scheduling hearings, handling the hearings, and moving cases along required a significant amount of trial and error.
Virtual hearings were a challenge in 2020 until all parties involved became more comfortable with not being in-person. There is still a steep learning curve that will carry over to 2021, but the courts are continuing to make adjustments.
There has been a positive result of accelerating the rate of technological change in the courtroom. This has opened the door for the courts to speed up how they handle smaller matters. It has actually made some courts work more efficiently, allowing for a faster resolution of specific family law matters.
Overall, moving the system into the future will continue to be a challenge in 2021. Fortunately, I’ve gained a tremendous amount of knowledge about each county’s challenges so that I can help you navigate the various nuances and roadblocks in your local family law court.
Ready to Help You With Texas Family Law in 2021
We would all like for 2021 to be a fresh start. But, some family matters don’t just go away after the calendar flips to a new year.
I know that the holiday season can be difficult and challenging for everyone involved, especially when the comforts of routine may be altered because of the pandemic. If you find yourself starting the year needing legal support with a family law situation, please contact me to discuss your specific situation.
Let’s work together to start working toward a resolution. I will help protect your rights, navigate the court system with you, and manage the details of virtual or remote hearings. My practice is completely dedicated to the practice of family law. I am here to help you discover the best course of action for you and your family’s domestic litigation issues in 2021.
I currently practice family law in Fort Bend County, Brazoria County, and Harris County. This covers cities such as Sugar Land, Pearland, Missouri City, Richmond, Rosenberg, Houston, Lake Jackson, Clute, and Angleton, TX.
Call my offices at 281-944-5485 or 979-267-7660 to schedule a consultation. Let’s work together to make 2021 better for your family.