Here are five things you must know if you have a divorce, child custody, or other family court matter during the coronavirus pandemic:

  1. The Orange County Family Courts are still open, for now. Given the serious nature of this pandemic, it is likely that at some point the court will temporarily close and postpone hearings, but as of March 12, 2020, things remain the same.  If you do go to court, wash your hands often, bring hand sanitizer, and avoid touching your face. Maintain your personal space as much as possible and try to stay in well-ventilated and outdoor spaces as much as possible. Since the virus is airborne, handwashing will not completely prevent transmission but it is still helpful. If you are immunocompromised, talk to your attorney about options to postpone your hearing or appear telephonically.
  2. It’s time to put petty matters between you and your spouse aside and work together to help everyone stay healthy. Thankfully, children are relatively safe from death and morbidity due to the virus. Unfortunately, children are acting as carriers and spreading the disease. If one of you lives with someone who is immunocompromised or elderly, it may be time to come up with a different custody plan to protect everyone’s health. Try to be flexible.
  3. Get an emergency parenting plan in place ready now. Although children are unlikely to become seriously ill, their parents are at risk. Who will take care of the children if you are sick? What about your co-parent? And what if both of you are ill? Now is the time to start making contingency plans. It’s time to speak with your co-parent (either directly or through your legal counsel, depending on your situation) and come up with an agreement governing things like exposure to crowds, hygiene, and travel.
  4. Meet with your attorney through video conferencing. Although we still have office appointments at this time, our office is happy to protect you and the health of the community by arranging meetings with Mr. Bledsoe through FaceTime or other video messaging platforms.
  5. If you are contemplating a divorce but waiting until after the worst of the epidemic is over, be aware that the attorneys and court systems are likely to be busy and overbooked once this is all over. China saw a major divorce boom after the epidemic passed through cities. You can contact us now to get ahead of the inevitable rush if you know you are ready to move forward. We can meet with you via videoconferencing if desired and even accept payments over the phone.

Do you have a divorce or family law question?

Call our office today at (949) 363-5551. We specialize in helping clients who have divorce and family law matters complicated by bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses. John A. Bledsoe is Orange County’s premier divorce attorney and a certified family law specialist. Our firm offers a confidential initial case evaluation.  to learn more.

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