Navigating work and life with the new restrictions and changes brought about during the COVID-19 pandemic throughout the world is difficult for everyone. For families trying to deal with co-parenting, pending divorces, domestic violence, and other family law issues, these matters can become even more complicated. Courts and law firms across North Carolina are dealing with these unprecedented challenges every day.
According to Chief Justice Cheri Beasley of the North Carolina Supreme Court, all non-emergency, non-essential court hearings are postponed until at least June 1, 2020. This means that, unless you have an emergency order, you cannot have a court hearing until Justice Beasley’s order expires.
During this uncertain time, our offices and team continue to do everything we can to provide the same services you’ve come to expect from Epperson Law Group. We’ve put together some questions and answers we hope you’ll find helpful.
Does the North Carolina stay-at-home order affect my child custody order?
Typically, no. Under the Governor’s Executive Order, parents may continue to operate under the normal child custody schedules required by their court order or by their agreement. Of course, all parents are urged to use common sense and follow all CDC guidelines regarding coronavirus safety. The health and safety of your child and family should be of utmost concern.
Can I file for divorce right now?
Yes, you can – but keep in mind that your divorce judgment may be delayed by short-term court closings and the likelihood of case backlogs. However, if you and your spouse feel ready to divorce, you may want to consider starting the process now in an effort to negotiate an agreement and expedite the process. We can also work with you on divorce mediation.
What if I have a domestic violence or child custody emergency?
North Carolina courts are still open for emergency hearings, particularly those related to domestic violence or children in danger. Depending on the severity of the circumstances, you may be able to obtain emergency relief via the courts. Our attorneys can help you secure an emergency hearing – however, if you or your child are in immediate danger, please call 911.
It is not illegal to leave your home during the stay-at-home order if you are a victim of domestic violence.
Do I have to pay child support if I lost my job due to the COVID-19 pandemic?
Yes, you do have to keep paying child support. However, we can assist you in filing a motion with the court in modifying your support order and payment obligations, as a loss of employment is considered a change in life circumstances. However, this request to modify may not be heard immediately. You may need to work out alternate arrangements with your co-parent. If that’s not possible, you may need legal intervention. Talk to us for guidance.
Every family is different, and during this “new normal,” every family is facing unique challenges. You may need to come up with creative solutions. If things become too difficult to manage, or you find yourself in an emergency situation, the attorneys at Epperson Law Group, PLLC are here to help. Call us in Charlotte, Boone, or Weddington at 704-321-0031, or visit our contact page, and schedule your consultation today.