DIVORCE IN THE TIME OF THE COVID-19 QUARANTINE
A. In response to the quarantine the Court has made the following orders:
- All family court departments are closed; family law & family support matters will be rescheduled
- The Family Law Facilitator’s Office is closed for public transactions
- All clinics and workshops have been cancelled
- The Family Law Facilitator’s office will conduct appointments telephonically
- Family Court Services office is closed for public transactions
- All family court mediation matters are being conducted telephonic
B. Links to the Court’s website:
- Link to the front page of the Court’s website where there is a link to daily status update.
- Link to the Court’s Covid-19 FAQs.
C. Filing documents with the Court.
- Lawyers have been required to file documents electronically since 2016.
- Litigants who are self-represented are now encouraged to also use an electronic filing service during the quarantine. While using the court’s drop boxes is discouraged, they can still be used.
- Emergency orders can be obtained in specified cases.
- Except in cases where emergency protective orders are necessary, this is not the time to initiate a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage [Divorce].
- Even when court services are restored, it is possible and often desirable to proceed with a divorce while delaying the formal initiation of the court action.
- I am available for the Roadmap Consultation described below by telephone or by video-conferencing. The duration, agenda and charge for the conference are the same as they are for an in-person meeting. Fee schedule and agenda for meeting>
- You may contact me directly by calling my cell phone at 805 886-6923. Leave a message, and I’ll return your call by 6 PM. The best times to reach me directly are 10-11 AM and 3-5 PM. Consultations generally begin at 11 AM but can be scheduled to accommodate your availability.
ARE YOU AT THE BEGINNING OF DIVORCE?
If so, you’ve probably wondered: “What do I need to know and need to do?”
For the last 20 years the “Roadmap Consultation” has been available in Santa Barbara to over 2,000 clients. It’s a 3-hour, stand-alone service that enables you to: (1) Determine where you and your case stand, (2) Decide where you want to be in the future, (3) Learn about the ways (your options) to get to where you want to go, and (4) Create a plan or map for getting from where you are to where you want to be in the future.
The two most important aspects of this service are:
- The consultation will not cause you to become caught in the web of the law, courts and lawyers. You deal with a Teflon™ Lawyer. You can’t get stuck to a Teflon™ Lawyer, and you get what you need to ensure that you won’t fall into the web of the legal system by accident.
- The cost of the service is affordable. It’s $360 for three hours where the marital estate is worth $500,000 or less.
I talk to everyone who calls about the service before scheduling an appointment. We’ll make sure you have enough information to decide if the consultation would be right for you and if now is the best time to do it. We can end the conversation by scheduling an appointment or you can call back when and if you decide the timing is right.
ARE YOU IN THE MIDDLE OF DIVORCE?
If you need legal services after the divorce has begun, a legal consultation should:
• Provide information from someone who is knowledgeable and objective;
• Allow adequate time for you to explain your personal circumstances;
• Provide legal information in way that’s respectful of your values;
• Not get you tangled in the legal system;
• Be affordable.
HAVE YOU AGREED TO MEDIATION?
Consideration of mediation from your side of the case is an important part of the Roadmap Consultation.
If you and your spouse have already decided together to explore the possibility of mediating your case: Congratulations. If you, as a couple, are committed to the process, mediation is the best way to divorce. I start a mediation by seeing the couple together for a free Introduction. I don’t talk to either about the facts of the case until after we’ve entered into a mediation agreement.
- I strongly recommend that couples interview at least two and preferably three mediators before they decide with whom they want to work. When meeting for the first time, the mediator should explain his or her “Theory of Practice” so the couple knows how the mediator works before making a selection.
- The purpose of the free Introduction to Mediation is to talk about method and procedure rather than the specific facts of your case. We are both collecting information.
- An Introduction to Mediation involves no obligation. No one signs a Mediation Agreement during the Introduction. I’ll give you a copy of the agreement I use. If you want me to work as your mediator, you reinitiate contact with me by email or by phone after we’ve completed the Introduction.