Important Information Regarding Courts, the Law and the Coronavirus and How we Can Help
March 24, 2020
We hope that this letter finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy.
As you may know, the court system is now only operating to deal with essential matters. What constitutes an essential matter seems to change daily by way of directives from court administration. What is clear is that emergency applications for Orders of Protection, emergency applications in child abuse and neglect cases seeking the removal of a child, and juvenile delinquency matters involving placement or remand of a child are deemed essential. The latest directive seems to permit the filing of an Order to Cause in Family Court without specifying for what purposes. The directives also seem to allow some discretion for a judge to determine whether an application requires emergency attention from the court.
Given the above, if you are required by court order from the Family Court or by way of a divorce or other matrimonial decree to pay child support and are now out of work and not being paid, we would recommend trying to file a petition in Family Court to suspend or modify your payments. Any relief granted pursuant to an application for support modification is, by law, only retroactive to the date the modification petition is filed. Prior to the most recent directive, such applications were being accepted in order to preserve the retroactive date. The ability to file is unclear under the most recent directive but given that the modification proceeding can be brought on by way of an Order to Show Cause and Petition, we believe the opportunity exists to file same and save the retroactive date. If the court will not permit the filing, we believe it is important that the effort be made for purposes of defending against any future support enforcement proceedings. If you are the party to whom support is to be paid and the payor is still working and receiving income, and if you can demonstrate that without this support you cannot pay for necessities (food, housing), an attempt should be made to file an Order to Show Cause seeking emergency relief.
We are also grappling with many issues of parental access/visitation at this time. It does not appear that the courts are inclined to view the deprivation of access an emergency. These matters are fact sensitive and we are hear to discuss with you what recourse, if any, you may have if you are being deprived of access or if you have concerns about permitting access.
It is still not clear whether we are permitted to be in our office. As such, we are working remotely. As such, you may call the office at 631-981-9110 as we are regularly retrieving our calls or you may email us at [email protected] and we will quickly get back to you. We remain dedicated to serving your legal needs. Please stay safe.
Very truly yours,
JUDD & MOSS, P.C.
Francine H. Moss