As many of our clients are aware, our San Diego County Courts closed effective Tuesday, March 17, 2020, except for Domestic Violence Restraining Orders and Orders where a minor child’s safety is at risk. At this time, the Family Law Courts have one Clerk and one Family Law Judicial Officer at each branch (Vista, San Diego, El Cajon and South Bay) to review ex parte requests for these orders.
The Family Courts were expected to reopen today, but late last week we learned the earliest date they will reopen is May 1, 2020. The Supervising Judge of Family Court, Margo Lewis Hoy, informed us she may expand the ex parte requests available for family law cases, but it will need to be a true emergency. If you have what you believe to be an emergency that needs Court intervention, please contact me.
Meanwhile, all court hearings set between March 17th through April 30th will be rescheduled by the court and my office will receive notice of the new dates in your case. Upon receipt of such notice, we will let you know immediately.
In order to bring more urgent matters to court prior to its reopening, we have been advised there is a possibility that hearings scheduled in May will be continued to a new date by the individual Judges assigned to our cases. Thus, if your hearing is scheduled in May, please be advised it may not go forward on the scheduled date. As soon as we are informed of any change of date on your case, we will let you know.
It is important that all of my clients follow their current orders. This means orders for custody and visitation, and orders for support. If you have a specific question about whether to follow your order, please contact me.
Many families serviced by my firm have become unemployed due to the pandemic, the result of which means that your support order likely needs to be modified. At this time, the status of the law is that a support order can only be modified retroactive to the date the motion is filed and served. Since we cannot file motions right now due to the courts’ closure, we are working with others to ask for emergency legislation regarding retroactivity of support back to the date of the Governor’s stay-at-home order, March 19, 2020. My office will keep you apprised of any new developments in the law.
Finally, please be advised my office remains open Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with a break over the noon hour. We are practicing social distancing and sanitizing on a regular basis. For the safety of our families, our clients, and ourselves, we will not be seeing anyone in person. My office door will remain locked, but we are available by phone and email. Our answering service remains on during non-business hours, and I will continue to receive your after-hours messages as soon as they are taken.
If you have any questions, or require discussion, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Please stay safe,
Heidi & Staff