Here is an Orlando divorce attorney’s perspective as of today, March 25, 2020
With millions of Americans in lock-down right now to protect against the potential effects of coronavirus, as a divorce attorney in Orlando, I know there is a large percentage of men and women out there wondering how this crisis will affect their pending divorce. I know this because many of them are my clients.
I also know there are countless folks who were on the verge of filing for divorce before the outbreak, who are now scratching their heads about whether they have to wait a few months or longer before they can move ahead.
If you fall into either of these categories, rest assured that this crisis may not have any impact on your divorce whatsoever. This is one segment of your life that does not have to be affected by the virus.
You do not need to set aside your personal goals or your sanity during these times.
Thanks in large part to internet technology.
In Orlando, and the entire state of Florida, there is an e-portal court filing system in which authorized subscribers, such as divorce attorneys and mediators, use in order to file your divorce case, as well as every legal document required from the initiation of your case to its conclusion. 
Florida Courts E-Filing Portal is the website which allows attorneys and mediators in all 67 counties in the state of Florida to begin, or to continue to finality, your divorce case.
Your attorney or divorce mediator then selects the county where your case is filed.
After the correct county is selected, your attorney or mediator then uploads the legal document required to be filed in your case.
It’s that easy, and 100 percent remote.
So, you can wipe your brow and know you will be covered in your divorce during this time. Regardless of quarantines, courthouse closings, and county shutdowns.
You also need to know that while you can get divorced during this time, your case may very likely be slowed down, or even halted, if you are in a contested divorce that is in court litigation. 
This means if you and your spouse are in hot dispute over issues involving your children or your finances, and cannot reach an agreement between yourselves or with a mediator, you have no other option but to go to the judge assigned to your case to have your disputes resolved.
And herein lies where there IS uncertainty about your divorce case during the coronavirus crisis.
Florida Family Law Judges in Each Judicial Circuit Have Different Rules.
There are 20 judicial circuits in the state of Florida. For each circuit, there are different local rules for family court proceedings. On top of this, each family law judge in each circuit has wide latitude in how they run their dockets, and how they run their courtrooms.
This means the family law judge assigned to your case is the one and only person who can say whether you can, or cannot right now, have a hearing or trial in your contested case.
Since there is no constitutional right to divorce, you do not have a constitutionally protected fundamental right to divorce (You do, however, have a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, for which I believe your right to divorce falls squarely! But I digress).
Therefore, your contested divorce could be put on ice temporarily and indefinitely because your divorce is unfortunately considered “non-essential” at this time. 
The inside scoop here in Orlando is that Florida court administrators are in the process of considering alternatives to live court hearings.
Instead of hearings that require the personal appearance of the litigants, the judge, and court personnel (which is impossible right now), remote options such as video and telephonic appearances for hearings and trials are currently being vetted.
But who knows how long it will take for these remote systems to be put in place, to get the kinks worked out, and to operate smoothly? It is anyone’s guess.
Moreover, any family law judge in Orlando and the state of Florida is within his or her rights to cancel contested divorce court hearings and trials until we are all out of viral hot water.
So, is there a way to get around your divorce case coming to a grinding halt until we all live in the land of the free again?
The coronavirus crisis will have virtually no effect on your uncontested divorce case if you use Mediated Divorce, Cooperative Divorce, or Collaborative Divorce.
As if there were already not enough reasons to get a divorce in an efficient and civilized way, here is yet perhaps the biggest at this point in time.
As a divorce attorney in Orlando for many years, I can tell you there is a huge movement of savvy spouses choosing to divorce through mediated, cooperative, or collaborative divorce. It is the smartest way to part ways for many reasons, with your emotional and financial health at the very top.
Thankfully, I honestly cannot remember the last time a husband or wife called me and said, “I want to scorch the earth under his/her feet, leave him/her naked and penniless in the street, and I don’t care how much it costs me!”
Most importantly, if you have children, uncontested divorce through divorce divorce mediation, cooperative divorce, or collaborative divorce will best protect and support the relationships within your family.
Family psychologists have taught us in the legal community that it is not the divorce itself that hurts children. It is the high conflict between co-parents during a divorce that is traumatic and psychologically devastating to children, and which can leave unhealthy emotional scars that can be permanent.
So here’s the deal:
- If you are currently in uncontested divorce proceedings, and are using either mediated, cooperative, or collaborative divorce, your case will not be affected by this crisis.
- If you want to begin uncontested divorce proceedings, and use either mediated, cooperative, or collaborative divorce, your case will not be affected by this crisis.
- But, if you are currently in, or want to initiate, divorce proceedings that are contested, which in turn requires the intervention of a family law judge, then your case will very likely be affected by this crisis. In terms of how long it will take to resolve, as well as the quality of the process.
If you have any questions about mediated divorce, cooperative divorce, or collaborative divorce, rest assured I am working to provide you with as much up-to-date information as possible in terms of the affect (if any) that the tragic Covid-19 outbreak could have on your divorce.
I’m here if you need to call or email me with questions or concerns.
 In the Supreme Court, use of the e-Filing Portal became mandatory on April 1, 2013. Read the Order.
 Florida Supreme Court Administrative Order AOSC20-15 regarding Covid-19
 citation Mom’s House, Dad’s House, Author Isolina Ricci PhD, updated 2016]
Andrea is a native Floridian and grew up right here in Central Florida. She is a respected divorce lawyer, coach, consultant, author, and mediator within the Florida court system.
Andrea earned her juris doctorate from Loyola University College of Law, New Orleans and graduated from the University of Central Florida with a bachelor of arts degree in Legal Studies.
She has been certified as a family mediator by the Florida Supreme Court, is a trained collaborative family law attorney, is a member of the Collaborative Family Law Group of Central Florida and the Florida Academy of Collaborative Professionals.
With over two decades as a trial attorney, Andrea has fine-tuned her understanding of the unique dynamics and challenges families face during restructure. She handles contested family law cases that are litigated in court, but believes that family mediation, cooperative and collaborative divorce are by far the more effective, more respectful, and more healthful means to divorce, especially when there are children involved.