Soriano Law remains committed during the COVID-19 outbreak. We are open to receive your calls at (360) 742-2817. Our services are essential to our clients during this unprecedented time. We tap technology to implement methods of remote communication to ensure a safe office environment.
The Coronavirus disease truly affects us all. Businesses, governments, companies, and the people. As it is already an incredibly fearful and stressful time to many of us, part of what’s even more bothersome are legal concerns that were left hanging during this pandemic. Could coronavirus interrupt my divorce process? What will happen next? What are other methods? We’ve summarized some common questions for you in order to help and ease your mind for a bit. Although we encourage you to call a lawyer immediately to simply know what’s the right step to do next.
HOW WILL COVID-19 AFFECT MY DIVORCE PROCESS?
Washington has declared a state of emergency on COVID-19. Courts are still open for now but there particular health care precautions in place. When you do schedule a visit, make sure to follow them. If one has a symptom or has a history of exposure, request in writing or calling them would be best. Make sure when you manage your case, hire an online mediator or appointment of private judge in order to keep negotiations going or for updating any concerns. After this is done, make sure to ask for your ex’s consent. You and your ex can actually reach an agreement, if you do, most courts are accepting agreed orders. Absolutely possible to finalize divorce if an agreement or order is reached and submitted.
Other alternative methods of dispute resolutions are Mediation and Binding Arbitration. These are very effective in resolving cases short of trial and are sure to be even more valuable now. There are mediators who are conducting mediation via Zoom or other similar apps that allow private conference rooms (password protected) to maintain attorney-client confidentiality.
CAN I STILL START A DIVORCE OR MAKE ANY MODIFICATION NOW?
Absolutely. Our courts are open for case filing or initiating. It really matters that we evoke sense of urgency, rather than waiting to start a case especially on custody cases. Requests for financial relief can also negatively affect the cases, as the outcome is often retroactive to the date of filing. Again, filing is also done electronically, but manage your expectations because courts won’t have trials occurring. Hence, if you and your spouse cannot reach an agreement on all divorce related matters, then it is likely your divorce will not be final until after COVID-19 related restrictions are lifted.
IS MY CUSTODY ORDER AFFECTED?
No. However, since everyone is affected including school classes, travel, etc, the enforceability will somehow be put to strain. These are things we have no control of for now. Although on the other hand, this is the best time for the parents to work together to address concerns of their children. For a parent on a different state, it is always more difficult especially now with travel related restrictions in place and some states preventing the entry of citizens from other states where the outbreak is high. In general, possession schedules should not change in light of COVID-19 related restrictions. Again, it is best to make time with them and raise the best interests at hand for the children. Technology (Zoom, Google Duo, Facetime) can be an aid to that.
I HAVE BEEN LAID-OFF, MY EMPLOYER COULDN’T PAY ME
Your current Support Order is still in effect or enforceable even without a proactive Modification or Adjustment initiated, thus paying child support is still a must. Although, in the coming days or weeks, we hope and expect the courts will issue instructions to address these circumstances as it is very important.
We encourage you to reach out to us, should there be other questions you feel you want to raise. Schedule a video call appointment found on our social media pages, or call our mobile phone at (360) 742-2817 to know more. Soriano Law is a law firm in Washington that is committed to help you in these uncertain times.