I was supposed to have a trial to finish my divorce, but it has been cancelled because of the current court restrictions due to coronavirus. What do I do now?
The courts have not yet rescheduled many trials that were cancelled, and those that have been rescheduled are delayed. At the same time, the courts are working diligently to move forward with implementing their pandemic plan to safely resume in-person trials over the coming months. Given the backlog that exists, this is a good time to work on settling your case, even if that did not seem possible before. Many people are now more motivated to settle given the current stay-at-home recommendations and economic changes. We can help you finalize agreements that you reach with your spouse for filing with the court, or act as a mediator to help you reach agreements.
The COVID-19 quarantine has caused my income to be reduced. Can I modify child support or spousal maintenance?
Child support can be modified based upon a change of circumstances that would change the current child support obligation by 15% or more. Spousal maintenance may be modified if it is modifiable spousal maintenance (some agreements state spousal maintenance is non-modifiable) and there is a change of circumstances that would warrant a change. Our office has the capability to operate virtually, so we can help you determine whether you qualify to have your child support or spousal maintenance modified safely.
Can I start my divorce during the COVID-19 lockdown?
Yes. Although many courts are currently closed to the public, they are still accepting new filings electronically. Our office is operating virtually, so we are here to help you through that process, and we can answer any questions you may have.
Do I have to honor my parenting plan during the COVID-19 lockdown?
In Maricopa and Pinal counties, the courts have issued guidelines that require parents to follow their current parenting plan during the lockdown unless the court makes a different order in their case. If you have concerns about your co-parent’s behavior during the COVID-19 pandemic, we are available virtually to answer your questions.
I have an emergency in my case involving my children. My ex wants to continue parenting time at his house, even though his live-in girlfriend has tested positive for coronavirus COVID-19 and is still sick. What do I do?
The Maricopa Superior Court has issued guidelines for parenting time during the coronavirus pandemic. However, the courts are still addressing emergency matters. The risk of exposing children to a known carrier of the virus who still has symptoms would likely be considered an emergency matter by the court. We can help you petition the court, if appropriate, for an emergency order to suspend parenting time until your ex’s girlfriend is virus-free.
Can my wife and I still separate in the midst of COVID-19?
Yes. There is no prohibition against establishing separate residences at this time. And you can still file for a divorce or legal separation. If you have children, you will want to work on agreeing to a parenting time schedule between households. You should also discuss how finances will be handled between the two households. We can help you mediate these issues by phone or Zoom if you need assistance.
The stay at home orders have made living with my spouse unbearable. My spouse is becoming more aggressive with me and the kids every day that we are quarantined. Can I get an order of protection during the COVID-19 pandemic?
The courts are available to deal with emergency situations virtually, especially concerning domestic violence, during the Coronavirus situation. If living with your spouse is putting you or your children at risk of abuse at the hands of your spouse, you can - and should - seek an order of protection to have him or her excluded from the home. We can assist you with that process.