Is anything normal now?

As we head into the third (I think, not really sure) week of NJ’s social distancing quarantine, I’m sure I am not the only one trying to find some sense of normalcy. Life has been turned upside down. For families dealing with divorce or who may be recently divorce, these times are particularly trying. Job responsibilities may have changed or jobs may even have been lost. Children are home from school and parents are now assuming the role of tutor. Children are missing their social interactions and structure provided by being in school. At The Durst Firm we are experiencing these same challenges. We are here to help however we can.

Being flexible is critical to getting through these days. Accept that the old structures, the old norms, are not applicable. Life has to proceed differently now. This is not to suggest that there should be no structure or no order. But be realistic with yourself. And be realistic with your spouse or ex-spouse. Parenting time schedules may need to be adjusted to accommodate work or school functions. If a parent is working in a high risk occupation battling COVID-19 (AND WE THANK YOU) care and consideration must be given to how that parent interacts with the children. Please don’t exploit this situation and use it as a “reason’ to deny parenting time. On the flip side, if you are the “at risk”, recognize that loving your kids may mean you shouldn’t see them as often on a TEMPORARY basis. We are working with our clients who find themselves in this very situation to find alternative means of maintaining relationships with their children using technology and creating interim Orders that preserve a relationship and set the guidelines in response to this situation.

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Changes to FAFSA deadline: important if you have college age children.

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NJ state tax filing deadline pushed back

In consideration of the practical and financial difficulties facing many NJ residents, the filing deadline for NJ taxes has been pushed back from April 15th to July 15th.

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The Durst Firm was founded to provide individual attention to our clients. Our focus has always been on family law. With over 20 years of experience, there is not much we haven’t seen or dealt with. Then the COVID-19 pandemic arrived! We are all facing the ever changing challenges presented by the virus. Now, more than ever the firm is committed to helping those who find themselves dealing with family law issues. Because our focus remains on our clients, both current and new, the policies detailed below are being implemented effective immediately.

Costs are always a concern when working with attorney. Each and every day we strive to offer top notch legal services at reasonable costs. Added measures now include:

  1. Freezing our currently hourly rates and consultation fees for the remainder of 2020
  2. Absorbing the processing fee when payments are made by credit card. (Many firms add back the costs)
  3. Continuing our policy of not charging for routine postage and copies
  4. When invoices are paid in full each month, a credit of $100 will be posted to the following months invoice.
  5. We will continue to work with clients to implement mutually acceptable payment arrangements when necessary and when feasible.
  6. We are exploring the possibility of offering financing options through a third party service.

Pandemic or not, we recognize the financial strains hiring an attorney place on our clients. We appreciate the trust placed in us when you decide to hire The Durst Firm.

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I already filed for divorce. Is my case at standstill?

Committing to get the divorce process started is a significant step. While it is never an easy decision, it is often an necessary one. We cannot conclude the process until we start the process. Having been proactive and getting the process started, many litigants are wondering if it was all for naught. Have the responses to the COVID-19 pandemic brought their case to a screeching halt? The answer is no.

There are certainly complications and inconveniences as a result of the need to take prudent precautions and as a result of government directives. However, your case can still move forward. At The Durst Firm we are developing new practices and procedures in response to new developments in order to move cases. Frankly, we constantly review our practices and search for new methods of enhancing our client-centered approach.

Take advantage of the “down time” to compile documents your attorney requested, work on completing the necessary forms, gather thoughts and prepare a list of questions for your next conversation with your attorney. All of these steps will help move your case forward. I taking the initiative to get these tasks done you will also help reduce your legal fees.

The attorneys involved can still communicate by phone or email. Video conferencing is being implemented to hold client meetings, facilitate settlement conferences, and even to conduct court proceedings. Making sure you are working with a lawyer capable of using these methodologies will help your case move forward. By working together, your case will move forward.

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