COVID-19: How can your Family Law Attorney Help?

These are difficult and uncertain times for most people, especially for those in the midst of a separation, divorce, custody dispute, or other family transition.  Being anxious during this time of doubt is natural. 

Even while courts are closed, Stiles Ewing Powers is up and running.  Some of us are working remotely, but everyone is fully available to you by phone, email, and/or video conferencing.  Like you, we are finding a balance between “business as usual” and keeping everyone safe and healthy.  We encourage you to stay home and follow the recommendations of the governor and federal officials. 

Please contact us by phone or email to discuss how we can best help you during this unprecedented situation.

Financial Uncertainty—How does this affect my spousal support and child support?

Many people are experiencing temporary or permanent job loss or reductions in income.  However, until a support agreement or order is modified, support must continue to be paid as agreed or ordered.  What if you can’t afford to keep paying that amount?  Or, what if you need more support because you don’t have the same income?  What are your options?

  • Work out a temporary agreement.  We all hope that the economy will recover quickly once the isolation measures are ended and people can get back to work.  This may require creativity,  patience, and understanding between the payor and recipient. 
  • Seek an immediate modification of support.  Work with your attorney to file a motion to amend the support obligation.  Although courts are temporarily closed, many clerks’ offices are still open and accepting motions.  If your request can’t be processed immediately, your attorney will ensure that it is handled promptly when the courts re-open.
  • Learn more about the stimulus package passed by Congress to see what assistance may be available you. 

Parenting in Times of Crisis—What is best for my children?

The coronavirus pandemic may also be affecting your parenting arrangement.  If you feel your child is being endangered by the other parent, or if you cannot meet the expectations of your current custody or visitation order because of quarantine or shelter-in-place requirements, your attorney can provide advice about enforcement, modifications, and alternative dispute resolutions options.

Also, read the guidance offered by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts.

Court Status– What does this mean for you and your case?

Courts across Virginia are closed for all non-emergency matters, creating even more uncertainty and concern.  We anticipate courts reopening on April 7, but closures may continue beyond that date.  If you have an emergency matter, such as a protective order, those cases will still be heard.

All litigation will resume when the courts open again.  If you had a court date during the closure period, it will be rescheduled.  If your date is already set for after the closure date, it will either remain on the docket for the scheduled day or may be continued to a later date to allow for additional preparation.

As we await the re-opening of the courts, there is still work to be done to move your case forward.  Your attorney and paralegal are continuing to work with you on discovery matters, preparation for court hearings, and developing potential settlement agreements. If your case involves a deposition, there are opportunities for video conferenced depositions to comply with “social distancing” guidelines. Stiles Ewing Powers continues to offer you the high quality legal representation and advice that you trust. 

Contact your attorney to discuss how we can best assist you with your case.

Your Stiles Ewing Powers team is available with the help you need and the experience you want.