Lockdown doesn’t mean life is on hold
The past six weeks have been a testing time, both for our nation and for us as individuals. We’ve written before about the effects on relationships of being confined with no outside contact for an extended period. Some will survive, some will thrive, others will go to the wall. If you’ve reached the end of your mutual tether, and have decided to call it a day, you cannot start official divorce proceedings right now. However, you can start the unofficial divorce process. Look out for our forthcoming article on the steps you can take right now to prepare your divorce for the reopening of the courts. Meanwhile, you can consult a lawyer online.
The defining characteristic of the global pandemic has to be the use of technology to keep people connected when they are physically apart. Although Skype has been around for years as a video conferencing tool, relative newcomer Zoom has been the darling of 2020. Music lessons, yoga classes, wine tastings and book club gatherings, as well as more conventional business meetings have all taken place on Zoom. The versatility of Zoom functionality lends itself to these diverse applications, with multiple viewing and audio options as well as chat and screen-sharing features. Other options include Google Hangouts as well as Skype, and both WhatsApp and Messenger have video chat facilities.
Legal professionals may traditionally be laggards when it comes to using new technology, but at SD Law we are proud to offer our clients fully interactive online consultations. Unlike a conventional phone call, our virtual consultations allow us to see each other and interact. It’s as close to a face-to-face scenario as it can be. You can share any relevant documents by simply sharing your screen. If you are aiming for an uncontested divorce, both parties can consult with us together, even if you are in separate locations.
If you have opted for a mediated divorce, we can facilitate mediation sessions in a virtual environment. You don’t have to wait for level 3 or whatever level eventually restores our right to conduct these meetings.
If you have children, and will need a parenting plan as part of your divorce proceedings, we can sit down with you – and possibly your spouse, depending on your circumstances – to determine the framework for your plan and the key points you wish to include. (See Why Have a Parenting Plan to learn more about the value of parenting plans, whether or not required by the court.) It will need to be approved by the Family Advocate, which cannot be done under level 4, but we can prepare the draft.
As we gradually emerge from the current COVID-19 restrictions, and life slowly gets back to normal, it’s likely there will be a new normal. We’re all desperate for human contact again, and screen time is no substitute. But there is no doubt that certain activities will stay in cyber space. At the very least, the option of a virtual alternative to an in-person encounter will become standard. If nothing else, the positive impact we have witnessed on the environment during global movement restrictions cannot be ignored. If we can reduce the amount of carbon-heavy trips we make by replacing a personal consultation with an online one, it’s hard to justify continuing to insist on face-to-face meetings for every situation.
At SD Law, we appreciate that relationship building takes place more effectively when people can meet, shake hands, and look properly at the other’s eyes. After this year, we think everyone will appreciate it even more. A lot of nonverbal communication takes place in a personal meeting that is lost via the screen. But we think these meetings can be reserved for particular occasions and many routine consultations can take place online. We are preparing our infrastructure to maximise the opportunities technology presents for doing business, while protecting your privacy at all times.
Book a virtual consultation today
If you would like to book an online consultation to discuss divorce, mediation, co-parenting, or any other aspect of family law, contact Simon on 086 099 5146 email firstname.lastname@example.org today, and we’ll call you back to schedule a meeting at a time that suits you, on the platform of your choosing.
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The information on this website is provided to assist the reader with a general understanding of the law. While we believe the information to be factually accurate, and have taken care in our preparation of these pages, these articles cannot and do not take individual circumstances into account and are not a substitute for personal legal advice. If you have a legal matter that concerns you, please consult a qualified attorney. Simon Dippenaar & Associates takes no responsibility for any action you may take as a result of reading the information contained herein (or the consequences thereof), in the absence of professional legal advice.