COVID 19 Makes Mediation Even More Important For San Diego Family Law
The San Diego County Superior Court Family Law Divisions have been closed, along with all other divisions at our courthouses, to regular business since March 16, 2020. The Family Law courts will remain closed until at least April 30, 2020. There are no hearings, there is no access to filing regular business documents, and you cannot alter or amend the status of your cases through the courts.
There are a series of common questions and concerns that clients are expressing to us during these uncertain times. We’d like to take a few minutes to share these core concerns and to point out how mediation is your best option right now for obtaining security and certainty in your affairs.
Can I File a New Case?
No not at this time. What does this mean? It means you do not have access to Court to protect your property or support rights at this time. One idea is that you and your spouse agree to a date of separation and that you do so in writing as your assets and debts after the date of separation will be separate. But that is by no means gives you certainty. The one option you have at this time is to engage a mediator like San Diego Divorce Mediation and to meet virtually with our attorney mediators to come to temporary and permanent agreements related to your assets, debts, and property.
Can I File a Motion to Modify Support Because I Lost My Job?
The answer is NO. This is significant because under normal circumstances if you rely on the court system, you can file the paperwork and get a new order effective from the date of your job loss. At this time, your only option is to propose mediation to your co-parent and to negotiate a new agreement together during virtual mediation. San Diego Divorce Mediation is available to assist you with this negotiated agreement which will give you both certainty and relief while the courts remain closed.
My Case Is Ongoing – Can It Be Resolved While the Court Is Closed?
Yes! Through zoom meetings and conference calls, our attorney mediators are actively meeting with new clients and are negotiating settlements that will be filed with the courts once they open and then will become enforceable. So whether your petition has been filed already or not, we can help you figure out your entire divorce now or deal with a custody issue or other issue within your divorce, and then file the agreement once the courthouse is open.
Must I Abide By Existing Custody & Visitation Orders?
One of the most common questions we have been receiving from clients during these uncertain times is whether they are required to abide by custody and visitation orders while “stay-home” orders are in effect. Understandably, parents are concerned about the health and welfare of their children and families. The prospect of exchanging children between homes, especially when there is no oversight or ability to enforce quarantine and social distancing regulations in the other home, can be worrisome. The answer really depends on your particular circumstances but the real resolution without the courts being available is for the parents to work within mediation to find solutions that are workable for each. While that can be difficult in some situations, it is critical in avoiding potential backlash from the courts, unnecessary attorney’s fees, and potentially placing the children in jeopardy. Now more than ever, it is important to set aside animosity and work together to protect children and families.
At San Diego Divorce Mediation & Family Law, we realize that each case is unique. We work closely with our clients to make sure they understand their options and can make informed decisions about their cases. If you are interested in setting up a consultation, please contact us at 858-255-1321.