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New York couple granted ONLY divorce in Manhattan during coronavirus lockdown due to ’emergency’

A New York City couple became the only divorce granted in Manhattan during the coronavirus lockdown Wednesday after a judge agreed that their split was an essential matter. 

The divorce judgement was signed by the county clerk on Wednesday, after Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Michael Katz signed an emergency application on May 13, according to court documents obtained by DailyMail.com. 

The unnamed couple’s divorce was pushed through while the city’s court system is still largely working remotely and on a limited capacity and handling only essential cases.    

A New York City couple became the only divorce granted in Manhattan during the coronavirus lockdown Wednesday after a judge signed their case an emergency situation (file image)

A New York City couple became the only divorce granted in Manhattan during the coronavirus lockdown Wednesday after a judge signed their case an emergency situation (file image)

A New York City couple became the only divorce granted in Manhattan during the coronavirus lockdown Wednesday after a judge signed their case an emergency situation (file image) 

‘My client was very much in a desperate situation, and this was one way that could rectify that situation for her,’ divorce attorney Morghan Richardson told the New York Daily News.

Richardson said that her client was ‘crying’ with relief after the divorce was granted as it was ‘tied to an immigration issue. Had we not been successful in getting this divorce entered, it really would have had dire consequences on her life.’

It’s unclear what the immigration issue was related to, however.   

Court records show that the couple’s divorce proceedings started in March, just prior to the city and state going under lockdown orders. 

The final divorce papers were not able to be filed, however, once the lockdown began.  

Richardson then had to drive the papers from the judge's apartment and deliver them to the county clerk's office at the courthouse in downtown Manhattan (pictured)

Richardson then had to drive the papers from the judge's apartment and deliver them to the county clerk's office at the courthouse in downtown Manhattan (pictured)

Richardson then had to drive the papers from the judge’s apartment and deliver them to the county clerk’s office at the courthouse in downtown Manhattan (pictured) 

Divorce attorney Morghan Richardson (pictured) had to pick up the original signed papers from the judge's apartment doorman

Divorce attorney Morghan Richardson (pictured) had to pick up the original signed papers from the judge's apartment doorman

Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Michael Katz's (pictured) was working from home at the time

Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Michael Katz's (pictured) was working from home at the time

Divorce attorney Morghan Richardson (left) had to pick up the original signed papers from Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Michael Katz’s (right) doorman

To keep the process going, Richardson – matrimonial partner at Davidoff Hutcher & Citron LLP – took the unusual measure of requesting that the court accept the papers as an emergency. 

After reviewing the papers, Judge Katz – who was working from home – agreed and granted the divorce.

Richardson told DailyMail.com that because the county clerk needed the judge’s original signed document to finalize the case, she needed to find a way to get hold of the signed paperwork and then deliver it to the clerk’s office in downtown Manhattan.  

This resulted in Richardson driving to the judge’s home and picking up the paperwork from his doorman.   

‘Which is probably the single most bizarre occurrence of my professional career — to drive over to a judge’s house,’ Richardson told the New York Daily News. 

The couple’s divorce being finalized occurred the same day that New York state’s Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence Marks lifted the ban on non-essential lawsuits in New York City counties. 

Starting Monday, city courts will start accepting non-emergency legal paperwork electronically – including lawsuits and divorces. 

The resumption of nonessential proceedings comes two months after the city’s moratorium on all non-essential legal proceedings. It’s expected that there will be a backlog of court cases. 

‘I think that New York divorce is pretty well known for being a slow process already, comparatively, and this has made it tremendously slower,’ Richardson told the newspaper. 

‘The fact is that clients who are waiting right now, even once things start again, there’s gonna be a huge backlog. I foresee it slowing down the process so much more,’ she added.

Source: dailymail US

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