We have been getting an overwhelming amount of phone calls during the stay-at home order from concerned parents who want to know the effect that the coronavirus will have on their shared custody arrangements.
Are the Courts Closed?
Partially. Most Courts partially shut down during the coronavirus epidemic, but all of them remain open for family law emergency restraining orders involving your children. The Court is clear that their doors open if there is an important health or safety risk to your children Our firm is passionate about protecting the safety of children.
Can I still file for Custody?
You can file for an emergency order for custody and visitation with the Court. The Court has remained open for emergency orders on custody and visitation. It is important to talk to a licensed attorney as procedures have quickly changed.
My ex is withholding the children because of the Coronavirus, can they do this?
This is legal grey area right now. Under the existing stay at home order, there was a carve out for “taking care of a relative,” and a carve out for “complying with Court orders.” However, the overwhelming purpose of the order was to ensure that your children, family and community were safe from the spread of the virus. The law on this issue is constantly evolving and you should contact a local attorney to obtain the best possible advice tailored to your facts.
I am concerned that my ex is not doing enough to protect our children from the coronavirus, what can be done?
There absolutely is a duty to ensure that your children’s health and safety are being protected during this pandemic. If you have concerns that your ex is not doing enough to protect your children from the COVID-19 virus, then you may have an ex parte case. You should contact our office to determine whether or not your specific facts meet the requirements of an emergency order.
My ex is being physically or verbally abusive, what can I do?
You should never tolerate being physically or verbally abused. If you or someone you know is the victim of domestic violence, you can still apply for a domestic violence restraining order during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
Have the procedures changed?
Yes, the existing procedures have remarkably changed as a result of the existing crisis. Most counties have already adopted or are currently adopting local rules to allow parties to file emergency motions on custody and visitation during the existing pandemic. Those local rules vary by County. You should contact a local attorney to ensure the procedures are being followed properly.
When will the Courts be Open?
The Court is open now for your restraining order petition.
For all other matters it will vary County by County and the information changes every day. The current tentative days that Courts will open for all family law matters as follows (but these dates are subject to change).
Sacramento County – March 30, 2020
Yolo County – April 1, 2020
Placer County – March 30, 2020
El Dorado County – April 17, 2020
San Joaquin County – April 3, 2020
These re-opening dates seem to conflict with the Governor’s recent stay at home order. It is anticipated that most Courts will change their procedures in reaction to the coronavirus pandemic. It is important to talk to a licensed attorney to ensure that you are complying with the updated Court procedures.
If you have any questions on your potential custody case feel free to give our attorneys a call at 916-923-2800. Our offices are still open and ready to with any of your family law issues during this existing crisis.