Child Custody and Covid 19 / Corona Virus Issues
How are Spokane County courts and Courts in Washington State addressing the Covid 19 / Cornona virus pandemic / emergency?
The initial court response to the “stay home, stay healthy” order was to simply close the courthouse. Special provisions were initially made for those cases necessary due to criminal arrest or imminent risk of domestic violence/major issues. As the “stay home” order has now extended into the second week some provisions have been made to begin having telephonic hearings and allowing agreed orders to circulate. All prior hearings and deadlines which were deemed by the court to be “non-emergent” were cancelled and/or rescheduled.
Can you still file for divorce in Spokane County Washington?
Yes. Our firm Hughes & Nelson is still open and taking on new cases. We can file your case with the court clerk and obtain a case number. We can obtain initial orders in your case regarding basic issues. Mediation and/or arbitration regarding any issues that need to be addressed can be arranged. Motions can be filed with the court and scheduled within the limits of the current court orders. Those cases in which parties are able to reach agreement are able to be submitted to the court for resolution.
Thus, the short answer is “yes” the courts remain open and every citizen, whether husband or wife, has the ability to access the court and engage in legal action even during the time of this Covid 19 / Corona virus epidemic. While there are some logistical issues presented by the court’s emergency orders and the statewide “stay home” order, things are not as closed as you might think.
Can I get a restraining Order? Can I get a Domestic Violence Protection Order?
Yes, absolutely. The courts have made a clear exception that those who are victims of domestic violence or who need an immediate restraint can request them from the court.
Can I ask the court to address the Covid 19 / Corona virus issue directly? What if the other party is exposed or tests positive? What if I am exposed or test positive? What if the child tests positive?
The court is prepared to handle these requests. You may find the court does not share the level of your fear on a personal level as the court addresses other pressing issues, therefore the timeline of having the court address these issues may be slower than you might like. This is why having the ability to access the courts, request orders, arrange mediation/arbitration and other avenues is important.