(New York, NY, Friday, August 28, 2020) – The Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York (WBASNY) supports mandatory electronic filing (e-filing) in both contested and uncontested matrimonial actions throughout the Unified Court System. Mandatory e-filing, with exemptions for pro se litigants and lawyers not having the necessary technology, would enable litigants to advance their cases and eliminate potential barriers to access to justice. It would also mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak on the courts.
Currently, procedural inconsistencies among the different judicial departments and districts throughout the state make it increasingly complicated and cumbersome for attorneys and litigants. For example, it can be difficult to convert a traditional matrimonial case into an e-file case, resulting in delays that may negatively affect clients’ cases. The lack of in-person accessibility to the courts during the height of the COVID-19 crisis and the continuing recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to avoid gatherings and to socially distance, impacts numerous issues in matrimonial litigation, including, but not limited to, establishing valuation dates, procuring dates of commencement for the purposes of establishing support, and managing the delicate issue of parenting schedules, which involve the rights of parents and children and their health and safety.
WBASNY considers establishing statewide mandatory e-filing in matrimonial matters to be an important step toward promoting the fair and equal administration of justice.
The Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York (WBASNY) is the professional membership organization of choice for more than 4,000 attorneys throughout New York State, and the largest statewide women’s bar association in the country. For four decades, WBASNY has been a singularly important resource for women lawyers, with professional networking, continuing legal education programming, leadership training, and advocacy for the rights of women, children, and families. Through involvement with WBASNY’s 20 regional chapters and its 40-plus substantive law committees, WBASNY’s members collaborate with one another on a variety of issues and perform public and community service, in furtherance of its mission to promote the advancement of the status of women in society and women in the legal profession; to promote the fair and equal administration of justice; and to act as a unified voice for its members with respect to issues of statewide, national and international significance to women generally and women attorneys in particular. WBASNY holds United Nations NGO status with the U.N.’s Department of Public Information, and Special Consultative status in association with the U.N. Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). WBASNY is also a founding member of the National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations.