California, COVID-19, & Divorce: What You Should Know

California, COVID-19, & Divorce: What You Should Know

July 21, 2020

As California continues to battle COVID-19, life has been put on hold in many ways. If you were considering a divorce before the pandemic or have recently decided to get one, you still have options, though they might be delayed as many other aspects of life currently are. Your divorce is an important milestone in your life, and you should know how the coronavirus outbreak is changing California’s family law courts.

To have your California divorce and COVID-19 questions answered, keep reading. Or, call our office today at (888) 251-9618 for a free initial consultation of your case. 

Are California Divorce Courts Open During COVID-19?

During the COVID-19 pandemic, anyone going through a divorce should expect delays, whether their filing is new or was already in progress. If you need a postponement of a court date, it might be granted due to current circumstances. It’s best to speak with your attorney to decide if this is the right option for you.

Currently, many courts are closed, including those in Orange County and Riverside County. This means that they are only handling urgent matters and are not finalizing divorces or handling other family law matters. Since the COVID-19 situation is continually changing, you should speak with a divorce lawyer as soon as possible by dialing (888) 251-9618. We’re ready to help you decide what is currently possible due to coronavirus precautions.

If you are looking to file a divorce, there is no reason not to continue doing so with the help of a divorce lawyer. Currently, most California family law courts are accepting filings online. Notably, your spouse might have an extended amount of time to respond to your filing until courts are completely operational again. Speaking with a local family law firm will help you understand the situation in your area even better.

I Lost my Job Due to Coronavirus. Can I Lower my Support Payments?

It’s possible! If your monthly income decreases for any reason, you can file for an alimony or child support modification. On April 20, 2020, the California Judicial Council introduced Emergency Rule 13. This new rule allows for those who have lost their job to submit a request for support modification and, when courts are open, they can retroactively modify a support order according to the date the request was filed.

Can I Seek More Spousal Support If I’ve Lost My Job Because of COVID-19?

Yes, you have the option to seek more support if you’ve lost your job while the income of your ex has stayed the same. Emergency Rule 13, as mentioned above, allows people to submit support modification requests. Once courts are back in session, they will consider your filing and will backdate it according to when you made the request. However, it currently isn’t possible to officially increase payments. In some instances, you might be able to negotiate with your spouse with the help of a lawyer.

How Does COVID-19 Change my Child Custody Agreement?

Your child custody order is still active and all details of it are enforceable as they were before or after the pandemic. California shelter-in-place orders allow for custody sharing between parents. If you’re concerned about practicing co-parenting during the COVID-19 outbreak in California, it’s best to speak with an attorney to learn what your options are.

Should I Start the Divorce Process Now?

Absolutely. Divorce is a serious and lifechanging matter and the process shouldn’t be halted because courts aren’t open. In fact, starting the process now might allow you to have more time and give you and your spouse additional time to reach an agreement. If you anticipate a contested divorce, now is a great time to start working with an attorney to make sure your case is as strong as possible and will defend your interests in court.

Call Edgar & Dow now at (888) 251-9618 for a consultation. We’ll listen to your situation and help you make the right decision during these uncertain times.  


The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.

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