Divorce, Custody And Support In The Times Of The Coronavirus
MAY 20th, 2020 Update – The Family Court in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas forwarded Family Lawyers the Order below, serving to open the Court up for business effective June 1, 2020, in certain limited ways. Lawyers are now able to file Court documents on that date, and thereafter. If you have Court documents which need to be filed, contact your Family Lawyer today.
The Novel Coronavirus (COVID 19) has forced massive changes in all of our lives. Our practice of law has changed in some ways, but remains unchanged in other ways.
While we are not meeting clients in our offices right now, and are not spending long hours in the office, we are fully “open for business” in the sense that we are working from our homes and are available to you as if we were in our office, as we have been before this time of our lives. Email us as you did before, and call us as you always have. We will be just as responsive as we always have been. Caitlin, Ginny and I are committed to serving your legal needs with no interruption in our service to you.
The Courts, however, are a different story.
Philadelphia County Courts are closed and not operational until May 1, 2020. This may be extended. Custody Emergencies are still being handled and resolved at this time.
Montgomery County, Bucks County and Chester County Courts are generally closed, although each Court is handling some matters. Each County is different. These Courts are generally closed until April 14, 2020, with certain exceptions. All Counties continue to handle Custody Emergencies.
If you have questions about a County’s processes other than Philadelphia, our best suggestion is you check that County’s Court website, or call us. We are here to help.
With regard to Custody and Custody exchanges, parents need to continue to follow their current Court order. Of course, there may be exceptions in certain unusual circumstances. If you have a question, please email Caitlin or myself, or call and leave a message at 215-967-9070 and we will call you back. The presence of the Coronavirus, in and of itself, is not a reason to not comply with a Custody Order. Family Courts in this area have issued statements regarding whether travel to and from Custody Exchanges is presently “essential travel”. Uniformly, Court Rules indicate that it is essential travel and permitted under the current “stay at home” or other policies issued by your Mayor, our Governor or other Authorities. If you do not complete these custody exchanges, you may be held in Contempt of the Order. Should this change, we will publish that change here.
Support payments continue to be processed by PACSES, as far as we have been advised. Continue to make your support payments, and for those of you who are receiving support, you should still receive it. Let us know if you have any questions.
Hearings before Conference Officers, Judges and Masters, scheduled during the time the Court remains closed, will be rescheduled. In some counties (not Philadelphia) a party will need to file a document with the Court to have a cancelled matter rescheduled.
Lastly, this too shall pass. We are all dependent on each other to be smart and good citizens. Take care of yourself, your loved ones and your neighbors. We are all in this together and we remain available to assist in any way we can.
Our warm regards,
Schwartz Law Firm, P.C