Bankruptcy filings have slowed somewhat due to government regulations placing a hold on foreclosures and evictions in some cases. Employees that aren’t working because of layoffs don’t have a paycheck that can be garnished. I have no doubt that when people get back to work, creditors will resume collection activities and we will be ready to help. Family Law cases have sadly increased during the pandemic. For some people, the stress of all things COVID was just too much on the marriage and we were able to step in and help them with family law matters.

How Did The Georgia Court System Handle The Shutdown?

Everything was moved to tele court because the court system can’t simply shut down. That’s great for bankruptcy cases because some people really need relief from their debts, right now. We handle all creditor meetings via phone, with the client sitting in my office and the trustee asking questions over speakerphone. It’s so much easier for clients to stay in my office rather than having to go downtown. If there is a contested matter in bankruptcy court and we do have to appear in court, all precautions have been taken. Very few people are present, everyone has to wear a mask, and there are disinfecting sprays and wipes all around the courtroom. Family law is a different matter. On one hand, not much has changed for uncontested divorces: we continue to file electronically, though sometimes it takes a little longer for the judge to sign the final decree because they are not in the courthouse on a regular schedule. The pandemic, on the other hand, has greatly affected contested divorces. Jury trials have been suspended until further notice but in certain cases, judges are conducting hearings on Zoom or one on one at the courthouse for temporary hearings, until the jury trial can take place.

How Did Your Office Transition To Interact With Clients Virtually?

Law firms are essential businesses; therefore we did not have to shut down in Georgia. Plus, we have a small office and rarely have more than ten people present at any time. But, we have gone through a lot more Lysol and antibacterial wipes! While I have absolutely no problem doing consultations over the phone, I prefer to meet with clients face to face. If a client is too uncomfortable coming into the office, we can schedule a phone appointment, Facetime, video call or Zoom meeting. Overall, I prefer meeting with clients in the office so we have that one on one personal time. When we have a court hearings, I ask clients to come to my office, but again, they also have the option of calling in from their home. I prefer in person because I can’t see if a client is getting a deer-in-the-headlights look when asked a question. Obviously if someone has been exposed to COVID, then we don’t have the choice to meet face to face. My preference is to have my clients with me when possible. For more information or to schedule a consultation, please give us a call at (706) 940-0594 today. We’d love to hear from you!