Family Cases Seen from the Bench During the Pandemic

Imagine you are the family judge presiding over a case.  You have heard literally thousands of cases involving custody, access and possession, child support, health and dental insurance for children, division of marital assets, enforcement of court orders and awarding of marital debts.

You have on occasion presided over cases in which there are allegations of family violence. There is a special court designated to hear family violence cases. 

There are also judges who preside over cases brought by the Texas Attorney General in which the state is seeking to establish paternity and to obtain child support orders. 

All of these judges seek to resolve disputes with their primary concern being  the welfare of the children whose parents are before the court.  

Oftentimes family judges have to preside over disputes in which the parents have become so embroiled in their battle  that the children’s welfare becomes secondary to the battle they are waging between themselves.  This is where the judge must intervene to resolve the dispute as fairly and quickly as possible, for the welfare of the children. 

As a family judge you would have “tools” to assist you in resolving disputes brought before your bench.  These tools include: rules of evidence, social studies, the appointment of amicus attorneys or attorneys ad litem, psychological tests, parenting coordinators, court-ordered mediation and/or court ordered settlement conferences. 

Now imagine doing all of this in the middle of the Covid-19 Pandemic! The courthouse is closed! Hearings are being conducted via Zoom or GoToMeeting.  I have had hearings in which there are screens for attorneys, clients, court reporters, interpreters and witnesses.  The judge takes charge of who speaks and who listens!  We are in business.  We are conducting the work of family law with the help of modern technology!

We are attempting to conduct our labors remotely.  The Texas Supreme Court will determine when and how the courts will return to normal procedures.  We are all waiting for that day.  The courts are very mindful to care for the welfare of all concerned. 

If you need to talk to us about your case call us at (915) 593-6600 and (915) 256-0579.  Email us as well at doug@dsmithpllc.com.  We are ready to help!  All of us are working together to get us through this pandemic.