Our law firm is currently open and offering social-distancing, no-contact phone and video consultation and legal representation
General COVID-19 Questions and Updates
ANSWER: On March 31, 2020, Governor Doug Ducey issued a stay-at-home order to combat the spread of COVID-19. The order urges Arizonans to stay at home unless they need to do essential activities. Businesses such as salons, gyms, and movie theaters were declared non-essential, resulting in most of those companies’ employees being laid off or furloughed. Under the order, restaurants can only serve food by take out or drive through. Essential and non-essential businesses alike were urged to provide their employees with the opportunity for remote work whenever possible. The order was issued to expire on April 30, 2020. Today, Ducey announced that the stay-at-home order will extend through May 15, 2020 with modifications. The Travel Restriction Order was extended until May 15, 2020.
Gatherings of all kinds are being suspended across the country, and the criminal court is no exception. Beginning March 17, 2020, the Maricopa County Superior Court modified its procedures for a minimum of 60 days. If you have a pending criminal case, such as a DUI, you should keep yourself informed of these changes to make sure your case runs as smoothly as possible.
ANSWER: Businesses and services across the country are being forced to close, and many may not reopen after the quarantine is over. So far, 22 million Americans have filed for unemployment during the pandemic. In an effort to reduce the economic impact of COVID-19’s spread, lawmakers enacted the CARES Act and millions of Americans can expect a stimulus check of $1,200 or more. If you received summons or a judgment recently, you may be concerned about how this will affect your coronavirus stimulus check.
Failing to respond to a summons will result in a default judgment. If you have received a judgment, your creditor will likely soon be able to get a garnishment order to collect on their debt. Most often, creditors choose to garnish the debtor’s wages so they have a consistent stream of income to repay the debt. A wage garnishment is typically 25% of the debtor’s income, but this is also the maximum amount the debtor may be garnished. The CARES Act specified that the stimulus checks won’t be treated as earned income in that they can’t be garnished by your creditors.
ANSWER: On 3/26/2020, the staff of My AZ Lawyers, addressing the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic writes:
ANSWER: No. We offer telephonic consultations all the time, not just during public health crises. This makes it easier for those who work or care for others full time to discuss their case without worrying about taking time off work and arranging transportation and child care. If you have documents you are concerned about explaining over the phone, scan them onto your computer so you can email them for review during your consultation. Contact us today and set up a free over-the-phone consultation.
Family Law and Coronavirus FAQS (Frequently Asked Questions)
ANSWER: If you participate in society in any sort of way, you’re probably aware that due to the spread of COVID-19, people have been stockpiling household goods such as soap and toilet paper. Some Americans truly don’t have a square to spare, not even a ply. All of this hoarding in conjunction with an increasing unemployment rate means that an increase in crime and criminal activity may not be far behind
ANSWER: The spread of coronavirus, and the shelter-in-place orders put into effect to slow the spread, have caused an upheaval in the schedules of parents across the country. This can be even more confusing for parents who split custody with an ex.
If you have a custody agreement, you are probably wondering how quarantine affects these orders. For former couples who get along better, they can temporarily and informally modify custody arrangements to suit the current situation. Since there basically isn’t childcare anymore, parents should try to coordinate around which parent is also working remote, or is not working at all. If anyone is sick in the household, the child should be kept at the other parent’s house if no one in that household is symptomatic. It should be noted that taking your child to their other parent is not a violation of shelter-in-place orders.
ANSWER:On May 3, 2020, Arizona Family Attorneys at My AZ Lawyers write:
While you are at home working remotely and social distancing, you have probably seen many commercials and public service announcements thanking healthcare workers for their bravery and service during the coronavirus pandemic. However, one doctor in Florida isn’t exactly receiving applause for working in an emergency room during a pandemic. Dr. Theresa Greene already had a split custody agreement in place with her ex-husband for their 4-year-old daughter. While it is unclear whether Dr. Greene had definitively been exposed to COVID-19, mere fears of coronavirus contamination were enough for one family court judge to temporarily take away custody.
COVID-19 Parenting Time and Visitation
ANSWER: Plain and simple answer is that you cannot quit paying your child support. Financially, not paying your child support is a bad idea. Unpaid child support accrues interest at 10% annually and is not able to be discharged by filing for bankruptcy protection.
ANSWER: The Supreme court suggests using a place where few people congregate as there is less chance of exposure to the children being exchanged. Additionally, if your exchange place prior to COVID-19 is closed, we suggest looking for a place nearby.
The family courts are currently dealing with an issue of first impression as society tries to navigate the Covid-19 pandemic. The average parenting plan does not include a paragraph or clause regarding how parents should navigate shared custodial arrangements as the world slowly shuts down. For Arizona parents, the further complicating factor is that the statewide shutdown of schools began during many district’s spring breaks.
Coronavirus and Divorce
Without a doubt, 2020 will be known as (hopefully the only) year of coronavirus. To stop the pandemic’s spread, gatherings of 10 or more people have been discouraged and nonessential businesses have been forced to close. Services that remained open have had to operate under strict social distancing and sanitation protocols. As the death toll continues to rise and experts warn of resurgences, it is impossible to say when the pandemic will be over. Millions of Americans have been laid off or furloughed from their jobs, or are now required to work from home. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, but spending 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with their spouse has made some people question their relationships. Stress about finances and disagreements over how strictly to self isolate can also put strain on a marriage. Those who are considering divorce are left with the question, “Is it even possible right now?”
As more and more businesses are forced to close or restrict their services, people worldwide can’t participate in their favorite hobbies and pastimes. Gatherings of ten or more are discouraged, and there are only so many times you can rewatch The Office. Millions are suffering financially, but some businesses are unintendedly reaping the benefits- and it’s not just Charmin and Purell.
Now that many Americans are working from home, less, or not at all, they have more time to spend with their partners. Some will also naturally seek intimacy during stressful times. The American condom brand Promescent has reported sales increases of over 50%, and even more on some related items such as lubricant. Condoms are sold out in Singapore. Even for those who do have access to these products, birth control sometimes fails. Sociologists expect to see a baby boom around December 2020. Then, on November 30, 2033, we must prepare for the rise of the quarantines. This demographic may still be outnumbered by another group- those who divorced as a result of Coronavirus quarantining.
COVID-19 and Bankruptcy FAQ’s
Filing Bankruptcy During Coronavirus
ANSWER: On May 4, 2020, Arizona Zero Down Bankruptcy Lawyers Write:
Most American shopping malls have been closed for at least 6 weeks because of stay-at-home and quarantine orders issued in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Arizona is one of the majority of states that are keeping people in a “Stay at Home” mode. Unsurprisingly, many large retailers have been teetering on the edge of bankruptcy.
ANSWER: That depends on how much debt you already have, and how long it takes you to find a new job. Interest rates are low right now so if you take out a loan and find a new job fairly quickly, you probably won’t accrue enough debt to make filing bankruptcy worth it. If you were already facing garnishment, repossession, or foreclosure, being laid off will put you further in the hole. However, if you were only facing a garnishment, it might serve you well to wait until you find a new job. Your paychecks can’t be garnished if you aren’t receiving one, and having a job will help you qualify for $0 down financing at firms that offer that payment option. You should consult an experienced bankruptcy attorney that offers free consultations to discuss whether filing bankruptcy is a good option for you, and when would be a good time to file.
ANSWER: We can do your consultation over the phone, and collect your documents to draft your petition electronically. Once we draft your petition, we can email it to you so you can review it, and then you will be scheduled to telephonically review your petition with your attorney. If everything is correct and you’re ready to file, your attorney will file your case electronically. Even your credit counseling courses will be taken online. The only part of the bankruptcy that must be completed in person is the 341 Meeting of Creditors. However, these hearings are currently suspended until at least the end of the month. It is unsure if 341 hearings will eventually be held telephonically, but hearings will not resume until the crisis is over. You will have an automatic stay of protection from the moment you file until your case is discharged to prevent from debt collection.
ANSWER: Dropping off documents in person was already the least popular way to submit documents at our firm. You may also fax or email your documents to avoid in-person contact at the firm. Our staff will be able to call or email you to answer any questions you have about collecting the documents.
Criminal Defense Law and Coronavirus Pandemic
On March 11, 2020, the spread of coronavirus was upgraded by the World Health Organization from a global health emergency to a pandemic. Many businesses were forced to close entirely, but most stay-at-home orders included special provisions for bars and restaurants. In Arizona, bars and restaurants are only allowed to serve food through pick up, delivery, or drive-through. For the time being, they can serve alcoholic beverages to-go, but patrons can’t enjoy their beverages on-site. Police officers are also pulling over and arresting less people as jails and prisons are breeding grounds for the coronavirus.