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By Kelly Stephan of Stephan Law Firm

The practice of law is based on the fundamental principles of precedent. In other words, as lawyers, we often look to history and relevant past examples to set a standard for how current events should be decided. And, as humans, we do that too. We reference what we’ve learned from our past to decide what to do in the future. So, what do we, as lawyers, as professionals and, most importantly, as parents, do in a time as unprecedented as the COVID-19 pandemic?

The issues that families face have changed dramatically in light of COVID-19 and there are no easy solutions in such unique times. Parents currently working through custody plans with their ex-spouses are feeling the tremendous strain of making the best decisions for their families when faced with new and complex situations.

At Stephan Law Firm, we have seen clients face new challenges such as:

  • Parents working in industries that may put their families at an increased risk of contracting COVID-19.
  • Remote learning is requiring parents to completely rethink and abandon previously agreed upon parenting plans.
  • Parents holding different views on how careful they should be during this time, leading to even more stress and tension as related to custody and care of children.

Beyond helping clients navigate their new scenarios, lawyers and legal professionals are also challenged with making sure court proceedings happen in the safest way possible. Family law attorneys and judges in Madison County and neighboring counties are working to address these difficult times by using technology in a way we never have before. However, lawyers are notoriously resistant to change. Many still don’t have a personal computer, much less the technology required to meet today’s demands. But, at Stephan Law Firm, we are not afraid to innovate or change our normal way of doing business to ensure our clients get the support they need.

Good lawyers today don’t just know the law — they know technology. They have high-speed internet and are completely cloud-based. Thankfully, that is us.

We have turned to Zoom and phone calls for the vast majority of our case management and status hearings. In-person court appearances are dramatically limited and new regulations have revolutionized what even the most routine proceedings look like.

For trials that are conducted in person, significant safety precautions are being taken. To allow for social distancing, we are limiting participants in the courtroom and only using large courtrooms with ample space to spread out. The Judge, clerk and court reporter sit behind plexiglass and everyone present must wear masks. These are monumental changes for our field, and we continue to navigate them every day so we can best serve you. Especially during these challenging times, our clients remain our highest priority.

As we all continue working through the challenges that the pandemic presents, we hope that you find comfort in knowing that Stephan Law Firm is always in your corner. We know that now, more than ever, we must be very responsive and act quickly to meet your changing needs, so you can continue to do what is best for your family.