If asked six months ago, many parents could have recited their family’s weekday routine: children go to school, parents go to work, and family time is enjoyed at night—rinse and repeat. COVID-19 has forced parents to restructure that routine and navigate through unprecedented times structuring their family’s day. This can be especially challenging to those parents co-parenting with a not-so-cooperative parent, or for those parents in the midst of separation. The largest and most impactful variable of them all is the uncertainty surrounding the new school year, and the numerous options available to parents in many school districts. This poses many questions: who gets to decide what learning option is best for the children? If the children are distance learning, who is responsible for supervising that? What about the parent’s day job?
Who gets to decide what learning option is best … Read More »
The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is raising special challenges for those facing separation, divorce, custody or support cases in Virginia. Couples who were experiencing marital difficulties before the crisis may find those difficulties magnified as they now spend much more time together at home. There are various custody and visitation issues raised by COVID-19, as well as issues of modification of support as many people are laid off from their jobs.
The Supreme Court of Virginia has issued an order temporarily limiting the types of cases that will be heard in Virginia. The order instructs Virginia courts to give precedence to certain emergency matters including emergency child custody cases, quarantine or isolation matters, and protective order cases. For more information, see Filing a New Family Law Case During the Judicial Emergency in Virginia.
The situation with COVID-19 does not mean that … Read More »
In response to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, on March 16, 2020 the Supreme Court of Virginia entered an order declaring a judicial emergency in Virginia. The initial judicial emergency order declared the judicial emergency through April 6, 2020, but the Supreme Court subsequently entered two additional judicial emergency orders, each time extending the emergency period by an additional 21 days. As of its most recent judicial emergency order, the Supreme Court has extended the judicial emergency period through May 17, 2020.
The judicial emergency order limits matters being heard in Virginia courts during this time—however, courts are not closed entirely. While courts are not operating at their normal capacity, judges are are still hearing cases. The order instructs Virginia courts to give precedence to certain emergency matters including emergency child custody cases, quarantine or isolation matters, and protective order cases.
The … Read More »
Your thoughts race as your heartbeat echoes in your throat. You feel like you have been walking on eggshells. Your partner had a short temper before the COVID-19 crisis, and now that you are both at home without being able to escape to the office, run daily errands, socialize with friends, family, or even your chatty neighbor, everything seems to set him or her ‘off’.
You are not alone. Many families are feeling heightened tension as we navigate the unknowns of this worldwide health crisis together. With the Temporary Stay at Home Order Due to Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) issued by Virginia Governor Ralph Northam on March 30, 2020, people are being exposed to increasingly dangerous situations, not just from the outside world, but from their spouses or significant others too.
What happens when pre-existing problems at home get worse, as spouses and … Read More »
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted nearly every aspect of our lives. Aside from the health of those afflicted, perhaps the greatest damage has been economic. Unemployment has skyrocketed, affecting even people who previously felt secure in their employment.
Losing a job for any reason is stressful. For those who have a child or spousal support obligation, there is an extra level of concern. The good news for those people is that, with some exceptions related to spousal support, the law does provide relief to those who qualify and know how to seek it.
First the exceptions. In Virginia, a spousal support obligation is not modifiable if:
It is pursuant to an agreement (as opposed to ordered by a judge) that was entered into prior to July 1, 2018, and the agreement does not state that spousal support is modifiable; or
It is pursuant to … Read More »
On March 12, 2020, Governor Northam declared a state of emergency in the Commonwealth of Virginia in response to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. In further response to the spread of the COVID-19, Virginia has implemented travel bans, limited public gatherings, closed schools for the remainder of the school year and implemented telework policies in an effort to keep as many Virginia residents in their homes as possible during this time.
On March 16, 2020, the Supreme Court of Virginia issued an order declaring a judicial emergency in Virginia through April 6, 2020. The Supreme Court subsequently entered two additional judicial emergency orders, each time extending the emergency period by an additional 21 days. As of its most recent judicial emergency order, the Supreme Court has extended the judicial emergency period through May 17, 2020.
The judicial emergency order limits matters being … Read More »