CORONAVIRUS FAQs

legal assistance through the coronavirus pandemic - FAQs

MY ARIZONA LAWYERS LEGAL TEAM IS HERE TO HELP RESIDENTS OF ARIZONA THROUGH DIFFICULT TIMES AND LEGAL CRISIS DURING THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

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.

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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.

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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.

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ANSWER: On 3/26/2020, the staff of My AZ Lawyers, addressing the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic writes:

Most of the courts in Maricopa, Pima, and Pinal counties are currently doing hearings telephonically.  Most but not all of the courts.  There still are a few of the courts that are still holding hearings.  If you have an upcoming court date (and are one of our clients), call and check with our office and we will advise you as to the status of your court hearing.
Additionally, you could check with the court’s website to see whether the court is open and allowing visitors. Each court has a section on their homepage with updates as to what the status of the court is currently.  Our paralegals and staff at My Arizona Lawyers can assist you with the status of your court hearing.
If you end up having to go to court, please be aware that some courts are screening people before letting them into the building.  This screening may include having your body temperature taken and may also include questions about your recent travel and if you are experiencing symptoms.  These precautions will be in place for the foreseeable future until this pandemic is controlled.

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

For instance, on April 6, 2020, a 26-year-old California man was arrested and charged with battery after a dispute with his mother over toilet paper. The mother had been hiding toilet paper as she thought he was using too much, and when he confronted her, it escalated to violence. The mother is fine and that district experienced their first call over a toilet paper dispute.

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.

Perhaps the best idea would be to modify your child support payments.  The Coronavirus Pandemic causing you to lose your job would qualify as a change of circumstances, especially if your layoff is permanent.  However, your child support payments are your first priority according to Arizona law.  It is better to pay as much as you can regarding child support than to not pay it.

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.

Regarding supervised parenting exchanges, you should follow the guidelines set out in your parenting plan.  However, if this is not possible because of the Coronavirus, it would be best to try and agree on an alternative (person or agency) to supervise the exchange.  OurAZ Family Lawyers recommend keeping the exchanges supervised if that is how they are ordered.  Do not choose to just do exchanges unsupervised.  Coronavirus or not, it is best to follow the rules of the parenting plan.
ANSWER:  Be careful here.  Our Arizona Family Lawyers caution parents from withholding a child from the other parent based on the Coronavirus Pandemic.  Here is why: On April 1, 2020, the Arizona Supreme Court wrote, “A parent is not permitted to deny parenting time based upon the other parent’s  unwillingness  to  discuss