By: Leslie Barrows
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Coronavirus COVID-19 Issues and Updates in Divorce and Family Law
COVID-19 Divorce and Family Law Update for June 1st
The courts are scheduled to reopen on Monday, June 1, 2020. Please be patient because many hearings and court appearances have been deferred and rescheduled over the past few months due to Coronavirus COVID-19 court closures and limitations. Scheduling new hearings and court appearances requires patience because there are so many people waiting for hearings on several divorce and family law matters.
The Barrows Firm in Southlake is Open for You and Your Family Matters
At the Barrows Firm, we remain open and are conducting client consultations, mediations, and appearing at hearings via Zoom. There are plenty of things we can do for our clients who are waiting for in-person hearings on several matters. In the meantime, we can work on discovery demands and responses, for example. Preparing for temporary order hearings is another thing we can do with clients waiting for their hearing if they otherwise could not have one using Zoom.
Amended Temporary Emergency Standing Order
Effective May 30, 2020, and expiring on December 31, 2020, unless further ordered, the Tarrant County Family District Courts (the following districts: 231st, 324th, 233rd, 325th, and 322nd) signed an Amended Temporary Emergency Standing Order on May 19, 2020. The standing order is for the protection of the parties, their children, family pets, and property while a family lawsuit is pending before the court.
Please note that this is different from what is normal in Tarrant County, where there were no “standing orders” automatically applied by the Court, like it is done in other neighboring counties such as Dallas, Denton, and Collin. In Tarrant County, most attorneys and their clients use agreed on reciprocal orders to accomplish the same goals as a standing order. The main difference is the new temporary standing orders are automatic when your lawsuit is filed. Read our article on point, Texas Courts: No standing orders in Tarrant County divorce, but mutual TROs are common.
A Quick Summary of The Amended Temporary Emergency Standing Order:
- No Disruption of Children;
- Protection of Family Pets or Companion Animals;
- Conduct of the Parties During the Case;
- Preservation of Property and Use of Funds During Divorce Case;
- Personal and Business Records in Divorce Case;
- Insurance in Divorce Case;
- Specific Authorizations in Divorce Case;
- Service and Application of This Order;
- Effect of Other Court Orders;
- Bond Waiver.
No Jury Trials in Tarrant County Until August
Due to health concerns related to Coronavirus COVID-19, jury trials will not take place in Tarrant County until August. Following CDC guidelines, limiting close contact with others means protecting potential jurors and postponing jury trials until August. This should not cause a hardship for anyone with immediate family safety concerns as those matters will still be heard by the Court and temporary orders can hold families over until a Jury trial on contested issues becomes available.
If you did not know, Texas courts allow for Jury trials over certain elements of divorce and family lawsuits. Jury trials can be used to determine the status of marriage, child custody, and residential matters, as well as the status of property, values, and distribution. Learn more by reading our article, Jury trials in Texas divorce and family law.
Happy Graduation to the 2020 Seniors: Terminating Child Support
While many are sad that their high school seniors missed the rest of their year after leaving for spring break, the Denton County grads do have the honor of walking through graduation at Texas Motor Speedway, having their smiling faces in caps and gowns up on Big Hoss. Great Article: Texas Motor Speedway to Hold Graduation Ceremonies For Schools in Denton County.
As parents who are paying child support are likely looking forward to terminating child support payments and we can help you with that at the Barrows Firm. The process is straight forward but does require action and is not automatic. Learn more with our article, How does child support work in Texas?
Planning for Summer Travel and Summer Camps
Just recently in April, parents had the opportunity and deadline to give notice of their summer possession and travel plans. During Coronavirus COVID-19, it has been difficult at best to make concrete plans, not knowing what the future has in store. Will there be another shutdown? What if new hot spots are detected or the curve needs are flattening again?
We can help you with any of your concerns about summer travel with children including summer camps, now scheduled to open given Governor Abbott’s recent declarations. Remember that being a good co-parent means being a reasonable person. Giving the other parent a break can go a long way when you might need a favor down the road. While this summer may be different, it is still a great opportunity to spend quality time with your kids, especially knowing how fast they grow and leave the nest.