Coronavirus Update - Helpful Information for Our Clients
Stepping stones

Coronavirus May Impact Spousal Support Payments , Child Support and Alimony

March 14, 2020

At Bookspan Family Law, LLC we meet many  of you at a vulnerable time in your lives.  Our goal is to help you through life transitions and ease your way to a better future.  Foremost in our minds now is the health and well-being of  you —our clients,  our friends and colleagues.  I am continuously reviewing and assessing the recommendations and requirements of applicable state, local and federal authorities, as well as the World Health Organization and the CDC, to implement necessary precautions and protective steps. As we face the coronavirus global pandemic together,  I want to assure you that we are continuing to work for you.

A note about financial obligations such as child and spousal support and alimony…

If you have lost your job, and or been temporarily laid off, it may affect your support payment (obligation and or receipt).    In Pennsylvania,  parties who either pay or receive support have a statutory obligation to report to Domestic Relations  a change in financial circumstances   As we have not faced  before anything like coronavirus and the interruptions in work and financial security it may bring, we may be in uncharted waters.  However, if you are laid off for a significant period of time, or lose you job, this is a change in circumstance that should be reported.  Alimony payments also may be affected.  Depending upon how alimony was provided for in your property settlement  agreement,  it could be impacted by a recent  financial change.    Please let us know if this is the case, and we will evaluate any next steps with you. For further discussion on financial security and cCvid-19, and a financial webinar,  see more information below.

Delaware County, PA Domestic Relations temporarily changes procedure for Support Hearings 

We will be handling some usual matters a bit differently as mandated by local courts, and Governor Wolf.  Delaware County Domestic Relations hearings will be held telephonically only.  Clients  are required to be present and on the phone.  We will ask you to come to our office for the hearing, and we will meet with the Master by phone.   If you are feeling sick or have any concerns about  going out, please let us know in advance, and we will request a continuance of the hearing.    We have not yet received instructions from the other Counties on  how hearings will be held/or postponed, but rest assured we will be in touch as soon as we have additional information.

What you can do to stay healthy

Whether you are at home or traveling, the WHO recommends practicing good hygiene to protect yourself against infection — by washing your hands frequently with soap or alcohol-based sanitizer, maintaining distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing, and avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth.   If you become sick, seek medical attention quickly.  Covid-19 tests are becoming more available, and drive by testing sites are being set up.  Check for sites where you live.

How  you can relieve stress

We have some excellent resources on divorce and stress on our website,  visit https://www.bookspanlaw.com/divorce-and-stress.html

Some quick tips….

Remember to breathe,  at least once an hour stop … find a quiet place and focus on your breath…   rest your feet on the floor,  sit with a straight back, close your eyes, breathe in for a slow count of 3 and breath out to the slow count of 3,  do this for two minutes.    Observe how the outside chatter melts away.

Give yourself media free time —  I know things are changing rapidly,  but take a break –turn off the TV, or the computer, including e-mail, for  a while each day , give your brain a rest from the news–  you can catch up on the latest developments  when you tune back in;

Take care of your body —  Eat healthy foods with ingredients that you can pronounce,  take your supplements,  get in 30 minutes of cardio,  walk,  stretch, do some strength training… each day… if you can.    Try to get at least 7 hours of sleep every night.

Connect with family and friends—  when going through a life transition often we feel isolated because we have lost part of our social network;  if you are working from home,  or have self-quarantined because you are feeling sick, you may be feeling even more isolated.   Reach out to friends and family now.  Call and email.  Stay in touch,  ask how others are doing, and invite them to ask about you.    Don’t hesitate to call us — we always like to hear how you are doing.

Are Finances Worrying You? money

I know this has been a wild few weeks with the stock market.  While I am not a financial specialist, I can say that indications are that we might not reach full clarity in answering  what will happen with global markets  for some time.   I know many of our clients already fear  the financial instability that accompanies life events such as divorce and custody matters.     Our best advice for now is what our advisors are saying:

….in turbulent markets, it’s important to stick to your financial plan and stay focused on your long-term goals.   However, if your goals or situation have changed,  talk with your advisor or please call us.

One of our trusted  financial advisors,  Stephanie McCullough, of Sophia Financial is running a 4 session FREE remote seminar on managing Finances for Women.  Follow this  link  to learn more and to register.   https://sofiafinancial.com/webinar/ To Our Trusted Clients…

During these uncertain times, we  remain available to provide guidance and counsel.  Please do not hesitate to reach out to us with your questions or concerns. We are here to provide advice and counsel as the situation evolves, and to the extent you, and your  family become impacted.

In the event office closure is recommended or mandated by the authorities due to an escalation of current conditions, we have contingency plans in place.  These include working remotely and leveraging our teleconferencing and video collaboration capabilities wherever we can.  With these technologies,  we  are able to provide, uninterrupted, the same excellent client service that you have come to expect from BFL.

We hope that you and your loved ones stay well, and we are here when you need us.