The COVID-19 pandemic drastically impacted the normalized operations of many industries, including the family law sector. According to — Matthew Cambó, recognized by Best Lawyers in America 2022, everything from clientele interactions to court scheduling underwent alterations due to the contagious variants of the Coronavirus. Cambó practices family law in Florida with Leinoff & Lemos, P.A and is a member of the Family Law and Young Lawyers sections of the Florida Bar.
In 2020, the courts temporarily closed, creating a domino effect of issues and pushing back many court dates. When the courts re-opened, all hearings were limited to video conferences. Family law-related cases with bona fide emergencies were given priority, including those with legitimate domestic violence issues. In addition, new procedural rules were instituted to accommodate the drastic changes necessitated by the Coronavirus pandemic and to ensure justice and fairness for litigants who required the courts’ intervention to resolve legal disputes.
In June of 2021, Chief Justice Charles Canady issued AOSC20-17: COVID-19 Health and Safety Protocols and Emergency Operational Measures for Florida Appellate and Trial Courts. Released through the Florida Courts website, the administrative order reflects a statewide emergency acknowledgment of enhanced health measures and amended guidance for official health procedures. According to the updated health procedures for Florida courts, previous obligations such as mandatory masks and social distancing during proceedings in the courtroom were no longer a requirement. The Florida Supreme Court’s Administrative Order also kept most hearings remote, continuing to utilize virtual tools, with the exception of prioritizing jury trials.
Certain matters in family law, such as custody orders, remained unaffected by the various Coronavirus-related Administrative Orders entered, regardless of the issues and obstacles parents face to comply with them. When schools were required to utilize remote education and parents could only work from home, Florida courts effectively determined that parents had to continue co-parenting in the same manner while adjusting to the new circumstances, regardless of their differences over how to best handle the impacts of the Coronavirus as it relates to their children. Parents had to assume even more responsibility to ensure their child or children consistently attended virtual school and completed all assignments regardless of their household environment or the timesharing issues that were generated by the Coronavirus pandemic. Then when the Coronavirus vaccines became available for children, numerous claims were brought to Florida courts by parents who disagreed on whether to vaccinate their children.
Moreover, many parents with legal, financial obligations, such as child support, experienced financial issues as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. Many parents suffered reductions in their income, while many others lost their jobs completely. Although the typical processes for legal relief remained in effect to address the financial issues litigants were experiencing if the litigant was proactive in seeking them, no special relief was established by the courts to assist all affected litigants with the unprecedented financial circumstances.
Courts across the nation continue to closely watch all COVID-19 updates and developments. They continue to encourage all litigants to stay apprised of possible adjustments made in response to the Department of Health’s recommendations.
For more information about Matthew Cambó, Leinoff & Lemos, P.A., or other family law practice areas affected by the coronavirus, visit https://www.matthewcambo.com/.
About Matthew Cambó
Matthew Cambó is an associate attorney with Leinoff & Lemos, P.A. He has been recognized by Best Lawyers in America 2022 due to his exceptional focus on serving clients in family law matters. Mr. Cambó has a degree in Political Science and a J.D. from the University of Miami School of Law. He is licensed to practice in Florida and is a member of the Family Law and Young Lawyers sections of the Florida Bar.
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