COVID-19: Family Law Help Center

Alleviate stress and uncertainty with up-to-date information and guidance.

You can take action now to resolve your legal matter during the COVID-19 crisis.

Doing so will likely be beneficial to your case moving forward. It is important to know the options available to you right now, and how to best proceed.

News & Resources

Stay on top of your child custody issues in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. You might laugh a little along the way as well!

You Can Take Action Now

The courts are open

The courts are open during the pandemic, albeit in a limited capacity. All courts are hearing emergency matters for child custody and domestic violence restraining orders. Some courts are accepting filings for non-emergency matters, and others are accepting and processing documents.

Whatever your issue is, do not delay taking action toward resolving your matter.

Avoid the ripple effect of court delays

It is important to act now because you can take steps now to mitigate the ripple effect of court delays that the pandemic is causing. For example, filing your documents now may preserve your hearing date. Sending your documents for receipt by the court now may preserve your place in line for filing.

At a minimum, it may benefit you to prepare your documents for immediate filing upon the conclusion of the pandemic. Your action plan will vary depending on the specific facts of your case and the county where you file.

Save your place in line

Waiting to take action can cause a substantial delay to your case. Your case will be set for hearing after those who did not wait.

Filing now, if possible, you also may be able to preserve important rights for yourself, like “retroactivity” in support matters. You should be discussing with your attorney whether this is an option for you.

If your county is not accepting filings, but it is accepting the receipt of documents, it is important to speak with your attorney about your options in submitting your documents for processing now. This will help to secure your place in line so that you can avoid additional delays caused by the anticipated congestion and rush filings which will inevitably occur when courts begin operating at their full capacities again.

Courthouse Updates

Superior Courts in California have limited operations during the outbreak. Learn what this means for your case. Click or tap on your county for the latest information.

County of San Bernardino

(September 2020) – In San Bernardino County, the Family Law Court reopened on May 29 with modified service hours from 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. All matters set during the closure have been ordered continued; most hearing dates and notices have been sent to attorneys and parties. Please check the court case information available on the court website for the latest information. All notices will be mailed to the address on file.

The court is accepting paperwork and scheduling hearings for child support modifications resulting from job loss.

If your matter falls within the category of time-sensitive and essential proceedings, you can file your documents via fax filing at (909) 708-8586 or in person in the civil clerk’s office at the San Bernardino Justice Center located at 247 W. 3rd St. San Bernardino, CA 92415, 3rd floor.

Remote appearances can be accomplished via CourtCall.
Court Call: (888) 882-6878

Please note that face coverings are required to enter the courthouse as required by county mandate.

Click Here to visit the SB-Court.org website for the latest court news updates and legal notices released by the Superior Court of California, County of San Bernardino.

County of Riverside

(September 2020) – In Riverside County, the Family Law Court has begun to restore services in family law matters.  Previously, the courts had enacted holiday provision that limited the court to hearing only emergency matters. Effective May 18, that provision has been lifted. Adoption and Termination of Parental Rights filings resumed in June.

Clerk’s Offices

Emergency Matters
Clerk’s offices at the Larson Justice Center (Indio), Southwest Justice Center (Murrieta), and Hall of Justice (Riverside) will remain open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. for processing emergency matters as follows:

  • File or pick-up any type of restraining order;
  • Request family law emergency orders (i.e. custody/visitation);
  • Request other types of emergency ex parte application relief; and
  • Stipulations.

Beginning June 8, 2020, family law emergency matters currently being filed in the Hall of Justice will begin being accepted in the clerk’s office of the Riverside Family Law Court, located at 4175 Main Street, Riverside.

Non-Emergency Matters
Customers may continue to file non-emergency documents in one of three ways:

  • Online via the eSubmit Document Submission Portal at
    https://www.riverside.courts.ca.gov/FormsFiling/ESubmit/esubmit.phpThe eSubmit program allows court customers to electronically deliver documents to the court securely via the internet. The eSubmit fee of $1.85 is suspended through June 30, 2020.
  • Mailed or delivered to the court for processing. Addresses can be
    found on the court’s website; or
  • By placement in a drop box at any of the open justice centers. Drop
    boxes are available for customers to drop off filings for submission to
    the clerk’s office.

Courtroom Proceedings

In-Person Proceedings
Effective May 18, 2020, the court resumed in-person hearings on permanent domestic violence restraining orders at each of the open justice centers. Notices of dates, times, and locations of in-person hearings will be mailed to parties. For non-DVRO matters, there is no stated date of return for in person hearings.

Telephonic Appearances
Effective June 8, 2020, the court resumed family law calendar matters, with the exception of trials, trial readiness conferences and mandatory settlement conferences. We are getting notices for telephonic appearances for hearings set in January.  All hearings (non-DVRO) are telephonic “indefinitely.” Notices of dates, times and locations of telephonic hearings will be mailed to parties.

Child Custody Recommending Counselor (CCRC) Appointments
The court will commence child custody and visitation CCRC appointments on May 18, 2020. These sessions will be conducted via videoconference. Notice of the new or rescheduled appointments will be mailed to all parties.

Click Here to visit the Riverside.courts.ca.gov website for the latest court news updates and legal notices released by the Superior Court of California, County of Riverside.

County of Los Angeles
(September, 2020) – The Los Angeles Superior Court will be opening June 22, 2020 on a phased-in basis.

Cases will be set on calendar in order of priority: (a) domestic violence, (b) initial support and custody requests for order (RFO), (c) Modification support and custody RFOs, (d) everything else

Every department in the Los Angeles Superior Court is in a different position in terms of their backlogs and availability. Some cases will be transferred to a long cause department if the judicial officer on the case feels it would be too time consuming. Short cause trials have been vacated and will be re-set for trial readiness conferences.

Judges will distribute e-mail addresses that will enable counsel and self-represented litigants to resolve calendar conflicts and scheduling issues. All e-mail correspondence must include all counsel or self-represented litigants and be limited to administrative and scheduling matters. No discussion of the merits of the case is permitted. For courtrooms where there is no e-mail address, you may call the department.

You can generally expect accommodations for remote CourtCall appearances through August 17, 2020. Note that there is no CourtCall in Whittier.

Effective August 17, 2020, the Los Angeles Superior Court will be switching to LA Court Connect as a means of videoconferencing that will be replacing CourtCall. More information on this will be forthcoming.

With regard to filing papers, there will be no walk ins at the clerk’s office without an appointment. A dropbox is preferred. Fax filings and mail submissions are also acceptable. E-Filing is expected in 2021.

An ex parte application, and any opposition, may be submitted electronically using the Resource Account, or e-mail service, provided on the court website, www.lacourt.org. Ex parte applications other than for restraining orders must be submitted no later than 10:30 a.m. TRO requests may be submitted by 3:00 p.m.

In addition to e-mail through the Resource Account, a TRO may be submitted by drop box, a fax to the clerk’s office or, the still available but most disfavored method, in person.

Child Custody Mediation will be handled remotely. Most mediators are teleworking. Information will be given on how to access remote mediations upon filing an RFO. Some pre-existing matters may go forward without mediation due to a lack of access before the hearing date.

Parenting Plan Assessments and Child Interviews will be cut back substantially and cancelled in many cases. They will not even begin until September 21, 2020.

Cases are being set each day in different time slots to ensure social distancing. It is therefore critical for you to BE ON TIME for your court appearance whenever it is set. If you are late, you will throw off the schedule.

Discuss procedural issues in advance with opposing counsel even if you cannot resolve the issue. Do not wait until the hearing to raise one of these issues. There will be no hallway meet and confers.

Everyone is expected to wear a mask to court. No one will be denied entry without a mask, but non-mask cases may be trailed to the end of the calendar to ensure public safety.

County of Orange

(September, 2020) – The Orange County Family Law Courts have begun hearing virtual court appearances and are now processing all filings. The Court automatically continued all matters set through June 1, 2020, the majority of which were set for a Status Conference. To assist with the significant backlog created by the Court’s closure, certain family law proceedings shall be conducted via remote hearing or in-person, as detailed below. Mandatory Settlement Conferences (MSC) previously set during the closure will be rescheduled approximately 21 weeks from the currently scheduled date. The Court is sending notices of all new dates set.

Family Court Services (FCS) mediation previously scheduled during the March 19 – May 22 court closure are being rescheduled as of June 22 and thereafter.  Sessions are being conducted remotely by phone or video until further notice.  Intake forms must be completed by the parties (not their attorneys) and received by FCS before the scheduled mediation date.  No informal mediation appointments are being scheduled until further notice.

Child Custody Investigations (CCI) previously scheduled between March 19 – May 13 have been rescheduled, and reports for these cases will be completed by the end of June 2020.  Judges may order new CCIs for matters with hearings scheduled after October 1, 2020.  Home visits will not be conducted until further notice; all interviews are conducted remotely via phone or video until further notice.

Presently, questions may be directed to FCS by telephone between the hours of 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.  Beginning June 15, phone hours will be from 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Where both parties are agreeable to attending a Voluntary Settlement Conference (VSC), counsel for the parties may select a date for the VSC and contact Trinity Palabrica (TPabrica@occourts.org) for scheduling.

The Court continues to accept electronic submission of requests for Domestic Violence Restraining Orders or child custody requests that involve an imminent threat of violence or death to a child. Respondents against whom a Domestic Violence Temporary Restraining Order has been issued may submit an ex parte request for modification of the Temporary Restraining Order which clearly delineates serious reasons for why a modification is warranted (i.e., a Temporary Restraining Order issued with no prior notice to the Respondent that prevents visitation or contact with the parties’ minor children).  The Court will either deny the request or set a short teleconference hearing to determine whether modified temporary orders pending the actual hearing date on the Domestic Violence Restraining Order request are appropriate.  This is not an invitation to seek modification of any and all Temporary Restraining Orders; however, the court will receive Stipulated Amended Temporary Restraining Orders where both parties are represented by counsel.

The Court is beginning to file new Request for Order (RFO) papers, though it is unknown at this time when hearings are being set on new filings.  Judgments submitted before the Court closures are currently being processed.

FAMILY LAW PROCEEDINGS VIA REMOTE HEARING: In order to assist with the significant backlog created by the Court’s closure, the Court will begin hearing certain family law proceedings remotely.  Each family law judicial officer shall select those matters which they believe will be most conducive to a remote hearing and can be adjudicated within a two-hour time frame.  The Court anticipates getting through the backlog of these matters by mid-August.   DCSS child support matters shall also be heard remotely pursuant to the protocols established by federal and state law, Judicial Council Emergency Rule No. 3, and DCSS.  Any questions should be directed by telephone call to the clerk of the department in which your matter is set for hearing.

Each department will use the following program(s) for remote hearing appearances:

 

  • C63, L51, L54, L60, L 66, L67, L69, L71, N6, N9, and W10: Webex
  • L11, L72, L73, L611:Microsoft Teams
  • C59:parties may choose between Webex or Teams
  • H13: Trials by Webex; all other hearings by Microsoft Teams
  • L52: Trial Setting Conferences and Status Conferences by phone; all other hearings by Webex
  • L65:Status Conferences by phone; all other hearings by Microsoft Teams
  • C65, L53, L63, L64: TBD

All exhibits must be served on the other party/counsel and submitted to the Court by email, at least 72 hours prior to any remote hearing. Click Here for the Court’s Family Law Mandatory Remote Hearing Protocol for Submitting Exhibits. 

IN-COURT DOMESTIC VIOLENCE HEARINGS (Depts. L11 and L63): Where both parties in a domestic violence restraining order proceeding are unrepresented by counsel (i.e., no attorneys), the Court may schedule the proceeding for an in-court hearing. Rules for such hearings include:

  • All individuals entering the courthouse MUST wear a face covering. Refusal by the Petitioner to wear a mask can result in dismissal of the case; refusal by the Respondent to wear a mask can result in a default (i.e., unopposed) proceeding.
  • Parties should arrive and check-in 15 minutes prior to their designated hearing time.
  • Petitioners may be accompanied by one support person.
  • Children shall not be brought to the courthouse.
  • Proof(s) of service, witness list(s), and evidence must be submitted to the court by email at least 2 days prior to the hearing.
  • Each party shall provide a valid telephone number and address to the Court by email or fax at least 2 days prior to the hearing.

Supervised visitation remains suspended; however, telephone or video supervised visitation shall be arranged per the existing supervised visitation provider.  The current pandemic is not a reason to deny parenting time.   The current non-school time is not treated as summer or vacation time and the custody schedule shall continue as if the children are still attending school.  Parents are encouraged to discuss taking all steps to follow CDC guidelines to protect the children; however, the refusal to communicate is not a reason to deny visitation.

Click Here to visit the OCCourts.org website for the latest court news updates and legal notices released by the Superior Court of California, County of Orange.

County of San Diego

(October 2020) – The Court resumed services on May 26, 2020, but it is not open for entry to the general public. Many services will be provided remotely, as appropriate. San Diego ex parte hearings went virtual as of 9/14/2020 through Microsoft Teams. All ex partes are at 1:30 p.m. Previously, ex partes were done in chambers with no appearances or argument.

For those who must enter the courthouse, all individuals must wear a face covering, unless prevented by doing so due to a medical or mental health condition or developmental disability, and submit to a temperature screening.

The Court is still accepting and handling ex parte applications for domestic violence temporary restraining orders (DVTRO) in the same manner as they were handled during the closure, i.e., the court will review and grant or deny the DVTRO request and set a hearing date for the domestic violence restraining order (DVRO).

In order to limit the number of people in the courthouses, the Court is accepting filings at all locations by drop-box and e-filing.  The following documents currently cannot be e-filed and must be submitted in paper form via drop-box:

  • Application and Orders for Publication/Posting
  • Department of Child Support Services/Family Support Division Filings
  • DVTRO/DVRO Paperwork (Initial and Subsequent Filings)
  • Earnings Assignment Orders/ Income Withholding Orders
  • Ex Parte Filings
  • Mandatory Settlement Conference Briefs
  • Notices of Lodgment and Accompanying Exhibits
  • Requests to Continue Hearing (FL-306) and Orders on Request to Continue Hearing (FL-307)
  • Proposed Orders, Findings and Orders After Hearing, Stipulations and Orders, QDROs, or Judgments
  • Requests for Dismissal
  • Requests to Appear Telephonically
  • Subpoenaed Documents
  • Surrogacy Filings
  • Trial Exhibits
  • Writs/Abstracts

The Court has also recently begun accepting in-person/over-the-counter filings of certain documents. Click here the complete list of Family and Family Support Division filing restrictions and services,

Visit (http://www.sdcourt.ca.gov/) for the latest notices from the Superior Court of California in San Diego County.

Questions? We Have Answers

We are here for you when your life feels turned upside down. The moms and dads we work with have many questions about what they can (and can’t) do right now. We’ll address some common pain points you may be dealing with.

What can I do to be proactive in managing my custody case during COVID-19?

Contact your attorney. There is a lot of confusion regarding what to do, especially as it relates to parenting plans and their apparent contradiction with shelter in place orders. Before reaching out to the other parent, it is a good idea to review your court order, in detail, with your attorney. You should have a firm grasp on your rights, your orders, and your potential access to the courts should an emergency arise. This will allow you to have a more structured conversation with the other parent, without unnecessarily arguing about wrong information.

Stay updated. Over the past few weeks, we have seen drastic changes in recommendations about how to be safe. Do not spend all your time tracking statistics and reading horror stories. However, do remain aware of executive orders and safety protocol recommendations. You should follow these recommendations. Not only is this the right thing to do, it also helps ensure that you are not placing your children at risk in the eyes of the court.

Communicate with the other parent. This is a time for us to come together, for our children. Make sure that you ask questions, express your concerns, and communicate about how to best keep your children safe. This is not a time for accusations, or attacks. Effective co-parenting should include planning ahead in the event that one house becomes exposed to COVID-19.

Keep your children out of it. The more vocal you are about your concerns with your children spending time with the other parent, the more likely you are to confuse them, stress them out, and place them in a constant state of fear. Do educate your children on safety protocols and world events but keep conversation age appropriate. Choose your words carefully; what you say may be inadvertently alienating your children from the other parent.

Can I delay a custody exchange due to shelter in place orders?

The courts encourage visitation to continue unless there is a specific factor that would put a child at risk if the visitation were to occur. That issue can and should be communicated to the other parent immediately. The Courts are encouraging parents to work together to do what is in the best interest of the child. However, if the issue cannot be resolved, the courts are available to make emergency orders if the safety of a child is at issue.

Should you have a safety concern related to your children, take advantage of the free visitation plan assessments we are offering during the COVID-19 crisis. You may have additional options based on specific safety concerns. Every case, court and judge are unique and we are available to discuss your particular situation.

I don't think my ex is taking this pandemic seriously. How can I get him to take the precautions that I want him to in order to protect the children from COVID-19?

You can certainly provide your ex with guidelines and orders you are able to locate, and request that the guidelines and orders be followed. Doing so in a polite and non-accusatory fashion is more likely to be received positively by your ex and considered positively by the Court. Neither parent has a right to demand that the other parent comply with his or her parenting style, but both parents have an obligation to make parenting decisions in the best interests of the child to ensure the child’s health, safety and welfare.

When your child is with you, you are in total control of social distancing and health-based choices. Likewise, your ex has total control of social distancing and health-based choices on his or her time. Shared custody necessarily means that different standards may often apply in different households, and each parent is expected to respect the other parent’s decisions. Only serious, obvious and indisputable endangerment of a child’s health and safety can or should be brought to the attention of the Court or appropriate social services agency, bearing in mind that resources are unusually limited.

I am the custodial parent and my ex lost his job due to COVID-19 related work stoppage. He says he can't make support payments. What are my options? I don't want to struggle!

While such a work stoppage is a change in circumstances that can give rise to a modification of support, you as the other parent can defend such a request by demonstrating that other forms of employment are available. We therefore encourage you to search for and find openings in your area and provide that information to your ex. To the extent he or she fails to pursue any leads you provide, such a failure can be considered by a court in deciding whether or to what extent to modify support.

You should also inquire as to whether your ex has applied for governmental assistance to the extent that is available, as Courts will expect all such remedies to be explored and exhausted. Please contact an attorney immediately if your ex lost a job due to a COVID-related work stoppage and has either stopped or reduced payments.

How can a restraining order protect me if I am sheltering in place with my abuser?

A domestic violence restraining order can give you peace of mind and body, as well as the opportunity to obtain temporary use, possession and control over a residence.  You should contact an attorney immediately if you believe you have been the victim of domestic violence.

How can I file a paternity action if the courts are closed?

Many courts are accepting filings, and those that are not will generally receive documents.  Since it takes time to prepare paternity actions, it is best to consult with an attorney as soon as possible and to develop an action plan both for settlement and eventual litigation purposes.

My property settlement has not been paid; how can I enforce it?

There are many ways to enforce property settlements including judgment liens and writs of execution.  In addition, property settlements due on a particular date may be subject to interest at the legal rate that continues to accrue and accumulate for as long as they remain unpaid.  You should consult with an attorney as soon as possible if you have an unpaid property settlement to explore the options available to you.

Can I get an emergency order from the court for custody?
Currently, every county in Southern California has the ability to issue emergency orders relating to custody. The custody requests that the courts will hear are limited to matters that place a child in immediate or irreparable harm. In light of COVID-19, these issues may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Is there a heightened risk factor for the child, such as an underlying health condition?
  • Is there a higher risk of exposure to COVID-19 due to a refusal by one parent to abide by safety precautions, shelter in place orders, and/or other orders such as social distancing?
  • Does one parent work in a critical infrastructure field such as health care? If so, are there adequate safety precautions in place?

These factors are considerations. Working in the health care industry does not, in and of itself, create an emergency. Every case is different. Your success in obtaining a court order is going to depend on a myriad of factors and circumstances.

The procedure for making this request may also vary from county to county. It is important to discuss the process with your attorney, and whether the factors currently present in your case are warranting court relief. If your current situation does not present itself as a true emergency, there are different options and avenues that you may pursue during this time to keep your family safe.

If I am in a shared custody situation and a parent or child tests positive for COVID-19, how should I handle custody and visitation?

Use common sense, parental instincts, and think about both short-term concerns and long-term effects. The thought process should be very different if the child has a special sensitivity, or anyone in a child or parent’s lifestyle universe has heightened risks associated with COVID-19.

First, the medically recommended quarantine for anyone who has been exposed to the corona virus is two weeks. Undoubtedly, there will be exposures that involve parents and children. How do you deal with this?  Do what is medically necessary or appropriate: if the child has been exposed to someone who is an identified carrier (in proximity), or worse, has tested positive, above all, follow a doctor’s instructions. If there are outstanding custodial considerations, like the other parent is demanding “my time” with the child, then politely but firmly explain that it is not possible based upon medical advice.  Please make sure that you share all doctors’ appointments with the other parent, and allow them to attend. This does not include cases with domestic violence restraining orders that do not provide for such close contact.

For those parents who have figured out that we all make sacrifices in the short term to the best interests of our children in the long term, just follow your common sense.  If a parent is unfortunately kept away for a short period of time, make it up to him or her when things calms down. The other parent will appreciate it, and so will the child.

Above all, understand that quarantine is for the protection of the child or parent, especially if they are included in the group of people most adversely affected by COVID-19. The challenge here is that you may not know that a person has a particular medical condition that increase vulnerability.

You are not just thinking about you or the child, you are thinking about grandma and grandpa, or about another classmate’s grandma or grandpa. We all have to be socially responsible.

My ex is keeping me from my child because she thinks I am exposed to COVID. What are my options at this point?

If you are being denied access to your child, your efforts to see your child should be documented.  In addition, an attorney can assist you in obtaining orders for child custody and visitation. Denial of visitation rights without good cause can be a basis to modify child custody and visitation.

I am not the custodial parent and I lost my job due to COVID-19 related work stoppage. How can I modify support payments if the courts are closed?

Please contact an attorney immediately if you lost your job due to a COVID-related work stoppage.  Also, immediately provide your attorney with all documentation relating to your work stoppage or layoff.  You should immediately apply for governmental assistance to the extent that is available, as Courts will expect all such remedies to be explored and exhausted. 

Filing for a support modification as a proactive step makes sense if your perception is that this may be a long term issue, or perhaps you’ve been holding off filing for sometime based upon “normal” circumstances.

It may not make sense financially if you are certain that the situation will correct itself in a short time.

 

 

I just can't with my spouse anymore. I want to file for divorce—can I even file a petition right now? What would the timeline look like?

Despite breakdowns in the court system, this is an excellent time to file for divorce, particularly for the self-employed or for those who historically were higher earners and now find themselves in challenging financial times.  Your exposure to child and spousal support is less than it would otherwise be. The key is to make sure that you can reasonably afford to live in different households during this unprecedented timeframe. It is still possible to proceed with paperwork and remain in the same home if no other options are currently available.

What should I do if the other parent has left with our child?

You should contact an attorney immediately if the other parent has left with your child to explore the options available to you. If you do not have a court order and believe that your child has been kidnapped, you should contact law enforcement. If you have a court order and believe that the order is being violated, there may be remedies available to you including contempt proceedings and a request to modify your existing child custody and visitation order.

When will I be able to enforce my visitation?

While these are unprecedented times, there will be opportunities in the near future to pursue enforcement of visitation orders.  You should consult with an attorney as soon as possible to begin documenting your efforts to obtain visitation and the other parent’s refusal to comply so that these circumstances can be properly communicated in writing to the court at the appropriate time.

With everything going on with the stock market, what if we are going through a divorce and disagree about what to do with investments?

If you and your spouse disagree with the current strategy of an invested asset, the first approach is to notify the other spouse of your desire to divide the asset by mutual agreement so that you can have control over investing your portion.  If this does not succeed, you will have documented your desire and may have a claim against the other spouse for refusing to make reasonable and good faith efforts to safeguard your assets, bearing in mind few courts will fault either party for the unprecedented drop in value of investment assets due to fallout from the COVID-19 outbreak.

Which parent receives the rebate for the CARES Act stimulus check?

 Under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the “CARES Act”), taxpayers are entitled to receive a Recovery Rebate, the amount of which depends on the taxpayers filing status and adjusted gross income. Adjusted gross income for Recovery Rebate calculation purposes is determined by 2019 income tax returns, or 2018 income tax returns, if 2019 returns have not yet been filed.

Single filers with adjusted gross income of $75,000 or less, or head of household filers with adjusted gross income of $112,500 or less, are entitled to a $1,200.00 rebate. Married taxpayers filing jointly with adjusted gross income of $150,000.00 or less are entitled to a $2,400.00 rebate. The rebate is reduced by $5.00 for every $100.00 above the foregoing thresholds, fully phasing out as follows: at $99,000 or higher for single filers; at $136,500.00 for head of household filers; and at $198,000.00 for joint filers. Taxpayers are eligible to receive an additional $500.00 for each “qualifying child.”

“Qualifying child” for purposes of the Recovery Rebate means any child that qualified for the Child Tax Credit on the taxpayer’s most recently filed (2019 or 2018) income tax return. The parent who claimed the Child Tax Credit on their most recently filed income tax return will automatically receive the $500 for each qualifying child.

$500 child stimulus credit should be paid to the custodial parent.

There is no repayment adjustment with regard to either the $1,200 stimulus credit or the $500 child credit. If you are paid too little because of a change in income, the IRS says you can claim the additional credit next year when you file your 2020 tax return. But you would never have to repay the stimulus money, even if you were overpaid.

Our Reading List

Take comfort in that we are all going through this together. Read about what others are experiencing co-parenting through quarantines, social distancing, and shelter-in-place orders.

We update this list regularly with articles we find enlightening and useful—feel free to reach out on social media with your recommendations!

For Divorced Parents, a Time to Work Together

The pandemic’s challenges and anxieties are helping some ex-spouses overcome old tensions for their children’s sake.

Robert and his ex-wife have been divorced for 13 years, during which time they have largely parented their 15-year-old son in a parallel fashion. They communicate exclusively by email and only about the most important matters—medical appointments, notices from school. The rest remains undiscussed. “I’ve tried for ages to encourage more active joint decision-making,” says Robert, a graphic designer near Boston.

Read Full Article
Courtesy of The Wall Street Journal

Parents can make joint custody work during a pandemic

So, here’s a legal pickle: Mom and dad are divorced, and their child spends every other weekend and Wednesday nights with dad.

The virus hit and the governor of California puts a stay-at-home order into effect while the child is at dad’s house. Mom asks dad to bring him home when his weekend is over and dad says no, the new requirement is for nobody is to travel except for essential services. The father adds that mom works as a grocery clerk and could bring home all kinds of germs whereas dad is staying at home since being furloughed from the restaurant where he works. He goes on to say it’s safer at his house because he, his new wife and their two kids are all shuttered.

Read Full Article

Courtesy of The Press-Enterprise

Domestic abuse victims in ‘worst-case scenario’ during outbreak, providers say

One evening last week, a 38-year-old woman showed up in the emergency room of a Los Angeles hospital. She had been beaten by her boyfriend.

Under normal circumstances, the hospital would contact a domestic violence advocate, who would meet with the woman in person and help her find shelter and other services.

Read Full Article
Courtesy of The Los Angeles Times

Couples in quarantine: Stress, anxiety, fear of the unknown

The 60-something husband works in the food industry and still insists upon leaving every day for work, saying he needs to keep his business afloat. His frightened wife desperately wants him to stay home.

Read Full Article
Courtesy of AP News

For victims of relationship violence, staying home isn’t always safer

As all of us across California are urged to avoid public spaces to prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), staying home for victims of relationship violence can be just as dangerous. What do you do if you’re trapped in the most terrifying place — your own home?

COVID-19 restrictions are creating the perfect storm for spikes in relationship violence between intimate partners and families. Start with an already abusive relationship, add stay-at-home mandates, the financial stress of unemployment, school closures and more, and we see increased rates of relationship violence across the board, with victims separated from the people and resources they need most.

Read Full Article
Courtesy of The Orange County Register

Serving Our Communities

Still strong and thankful for the many volunteers at Big Brothers Big Sisters. During this difficult time, we remain committed to all of our Bigs, Littles and their families. We want to do our part to keep them safe and healthy, and also ensure they do not lose the valuable relationships they’ve built through our program.

Laughter: The Therapy We All Need

When your emotional state fluctuates between stress and utter boredom, laughter is the cure. Here’s what Sam and I are finding funny during these strange times. Follow our social media for more!

16 Married Couples Who Might Be Divorced When This Pandemic Ends

Since the coronavirus pandemic began, married people have been making a lot of jokes on Twitter about being locked up with their spouses.

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Courtesy of Nifty on BuzzFeed

We’re Here to Help

If you’re struggling with issues related to Family Law, please reach out to us – we may be able to help. As one of the largest privately-owned firms in Family Law, we have been around for a while and have seen all kinds of cases. Our attorneys have more than 300 years combined experience and will always put the needs of our clients first and foremost.