We’re living in a very uncertain time right now. Everything is unprecedented and everyone is handling COVID-19 differently. There are a few common practices being taken by local and state governments that we can lean on for stability. What does the Shelter-In-Place order mean for you and your family, and family law?
What Is A Shelter In Place Order?
Shelter in place orders are employed during or after a crisis to protect the population. These are usually issued locally which is why you are seeing orders with differing stipulations coming out of different states and counties. A shelter in place order requires residents to stay at home with the exception of essential travel and business.
Are Courts And Family Law Firms Considered Essential?
Many people who were facing legal trouble before the pandemic are now wondering how this will affect their cases. Courts and law firms are considered essential businesses, however, they are operating on a restricted basis. Only people who have hearings before the court will be allowed in the courthouses. Each county in the Bay Area has different regulations they are operating under. For Santa Clara, certain courts will remain open during the COVID-19 crisis, one being the Family Law Justice Center Courthouse. They are handling a restricted type of cases at this time. Some of those being:
- Various restraining orders – Emergency protective orders, gun violence orders, domestic violence temporary orders
- Child custody and visitation matters – ex parte requests, modifications due to child safety concerns, modifications due to parents withholding visitation
- Guardianship with child safety concerns
You can learn more about the matters family law courts are handling here.
Temporary Emergency Rules
During coronavirus, the courts have enacted new emergency rules and revised existing ones to best serve the community. Emergency rule #8 was revised. It discusses the matter of extending protective and restraining orders. There is no longer an automatic extension of duration of orders during the pandemic. Now, the courts must provide persons a way to request renewals and extensions only.
Emergency rule #13 deals with support requests and orders. This rule was created to ease the burden of requesting changes to child support, spousal or partner support, and family support orders during coronavirus. It is more challenging to file requests at this time, and the courts are having a hard time processing them. To deal with this, the courts are allowing service of unfiled requests.
For a list of all temporary emergency rules, go here.
Government Aid and Back Child Support
The government is offering aid to the public in the form of a $1200 stimulus check. This is to offset the damage to the economy and the loss of jobs across the country. Family law matters are affecting the release of these funds. If a parent owes outstanding child support payments, they will see their funds reduced or will not be issued a stimulus check.
To learn more about how family law in the Bay Area is affected by COVID-19, check out these resources here. You can also set up a free virtual consultation with one of our family law attorneys to help you with any questions or cases you may have. You can set up a consultation here.