The COVID-19 pandemic has been an unprecedented situation, especially for families with children. If you're in the middle of a family law case, such as a divorce or a custody dispute, you may wonder how the pandemic will affect the proceedings. Here are five family law FAQs:
Should I postpone my divorce due to COVID-19?
The pandemic has caused plenty of uncertainty for families, but if you've already decided to file for divorce, there's no reason not to continue with the process. Unless you and your spouse are thinking about reconciliation, postponing the divorce will only lead to more stress. Keep in mind, though, that your hearing may be postponed or delayed, so the proceedings could take longer than usual.
How do I share custody of my child if they or someone they've been in contact with tested positive for COVID-19?
California doesn't have laws or guidelines regarding custody and visitation after a positive COVID-19 test, so you and your ex should use common sense and trust your instincts. The recommended quarantine period after exposure is 14 days, and if you test positive, it's recommended to stay home until your symptoms improve and you're fever-free for 24 hours. One parent may miss their usual custody or visitation days if the child has a quarantine with the other parent. In this case, explain firmly to your ex that this is the medical recommendation. Then, try to make it up to them when the quarantine is over.
Can I receive more child support if I lost my job during the pandemic?
In California, child support can be modified if you lose your job. However, it may take a long time for the modification to be approved if courts are closed or have limited hours due to the pandemic. Prepare for this possibility by limiting spending as much as you can if you think you may be laid off or furloughed.
How will my child's stimulus check be divided?
The parent who claimed the child as a dependent on their taxes will receive the child's stimulus check. The federal government will use the most recent tax information they have on file. If you and your ex are on amicable terms, courts recommend that you work together to decide how the check should be divided.
Is there important family paperwork I need or should prepare during COVID-19?
If you're in the middle of filing for divorce, continue gathering documents and keeping financial records during this time. All families should consider the fact that employment and schooling situations can change rapidly during this public health crisis. If you lose your job, keep records of your unemployment application and payments. As always, stay up-to-date with your taxes, but be aware that important tax dates may change.
If you have questions and would like to speak to one of our lawyers today, please contact us. Our offices are open, and we’re looking forward to hearing from you.