We are Open and Fully Operational
Our firm has accommodated both in person and virtual services since its start – it’s a reality of today’s world. While we didn’t expect a pandemic of this magnitude, we were inadvertently ready for it.
Advanced Family Solutions Designed to Deal with Covid19
- We are available for meetings by video and telephone conferencing
- You can access your documents and upload documents through your client portal
- We can continue to move your case along by online mediations and collaborations, working with you to complete your financial disclosures, help you create your parenting plan, review support ranges and options, create options for resolution, identify your goals, and any other assistance you may need.
How will this affect my case?
Most courts are still limiting their operations to reduce court staff exposure and the continued spread of the virus to the public. Many hearings are virtual or by telephone. You need only appear physically at the courthouse if you have received a notice from the court instructing you to do so. Many professionals and individual have had difficulty with the court’s virtual appearance software, and telephonic appearances are often chellenging, more-so now with children at home for distance-learning.
Filing Your Petition and Response Documents
Many courts have successfully worked through the backlog of filings created during the court closures. While we may be able to electronically file certain documents in some courts, processing times may vary. The courts are also experiencing problems with faxed filings not coming in complete. This means that some dates and deadlines may be pushed back, such as your date of divorce.
There is no legal precedent that guides judges on what is reasonable and unreasonable exposure to COVID-19. Attending a family function fully masked and distancing vs going for a walk in a park without a mask, for example. Note: regardless of your feelings about whether or not the other parent is taking appropriate precautions, you are still obligated to follow your child sharing agreements/orders.
If you do not yet have agreements, or orders, you can still make decisions on your parenting plans, and complete enforceable agreements, even without a court hearing. We can work online with child specialists and your lawyers to help you create these agreements in a safe and productive environment. If there is an emergency situation where the child’s safety is at issue, the courts will hear these matters by ExParte application.
Child and Spousal Support
The court has the ability to make orders retroactive to the date requested (in your filed opening documents or request for orders). Best practice for all involved is to try and resolve these questions with the help of your mediator or consulting/collaborative lawyer as soon as possible. We work with financial professionals who are ready to assist our clients on this topic, to see the real-life impact these agreements will have, short-term and long.
Many judges are still relying on 2019 income, even though your 2020 year-to-date income may be much lower. Many judges are also imputing (pretending that you receive) either minimum wage, full time employment income, or income you were previously earning. These are risks for both low/no-income earners as well as high-income earners.
These are difficult times and the laws often result in an extreme hardship for one spouse or the other because they were not drafted with COVID-19 type situations in mind.
San Bernardino County Superior Court
All calendared cases have restarted. Check the court’s website to confirm the date and time of your hearing. The court clerk’s office and lobby are currently open from 8:00 AM until 2:00 PM. Telephonic appearances are encouraged and can be scheduled by using Court Call or by contacting the courtroom directly. Only individuals and attorneys appearing on a case will be allowed inside the courtroom. Visitors to the court who are experiencing any of the COVID-19 symptoms as described by the CDC (including fever, chill, cough, shortness of breath, etc.) are prohibited from entering the courthouse. If you are exhibiting such symptoms, you will need to reschedule your hearing to another date. The court is the public to use alternative filing options such as outside service windows and drop box locations.
Riverside Superior Court
Those who are feeling ill or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms as described by the CDC are prohibited from entering the courthouse. Face coverings are required, and all visitors must maintain six feet of physical distance from other persons while in the courthouse. You will be turned away if you are not wearing a face covering. Self-help centers are closed, and workshops are cancelled until further notice. Remote self-help services are available by phone or email for restraining orders, family law ex part/emergency orders, and temporary probate guardianships and conservatorships only. If you have a hearing, you will receive either a Notice of Hearing for an in-person appearance or a Notice of Telephonic Hearing to appear by telephone. Limited staff are available to answer the telephone and monitor email accounts, so please be patient – There will be lengthy wait times and email responses will be delayed. The Corona, Hemet, Moreno Valley, and Temecula courthouses are closed. Riverside Family Law courthouse is currently open Monday through Friday from 7:30 AM until 2:00 PM. Documents may be filed by the eSubmit portal, mail, or drop box.
Orange County Superior Court
The court is open for limited in-person services. Do not visit the courthouse unless you have been notified by the Court that you have an in-person hearing or you have scheduled an appointment to enter the building for counter services. Face coverings are required to enter the courthouse. Family Court Services is available by telephone only.
June 3, 2021 California Supreme Court ruling for Orange County (PDF)
Los Angeles County Superior Court
Face masks are required, except for children under the age of 3. Those with medical or mental health conditions, or with disabilities that preclude the wearing of a face covering are also exempt but must “take whatever protective measure their condition permits, such as wearing a face shield without a drape on the bottom edge”. Contact the ADA liaison at the courthouse. Appointments are required to access in-person courthouse services due to social distancing requirements.