At Garwood Attorneys, ALC we understand what a difficult and uncertain time this is for you and your family. Your health, safety, and well being, as well as that of our employees, remains our highest priority. To that end, while our office is physically closed, we want to assure you that we are still here for you. Our attorneys and paralegals are working remotely, and are available to provide you with whatever assistance you need through this crisis. You may reach us via email, or simply call our main telephone line. Our phones have been forwarded and will be answered by a staff member. If you receive a recording, please know that we are checking messages regularly, and the appropriate person will respond to you as soon as possible.
By now you may also know that all San Diego Superior Courts are currently closed. The Court is scheduled to re-open on Friday, May 1, 2020, but this remains a fluid situation and is subject to change. We will keep you up to date on any new information as it becomes available. In the meantime, a single Family Court Judge is available to hear very limited emergency ex parte matters, for which approval must first be obtained. In addition, Domestic Violence Restraining Order Requests are still being heard.
While the Court remains closed, there are measures that we are taking now to protect you financially as much as possible. With many companies being forced to close their doors, and the instability in the financial markets, many have already seen a dramatic reduction in their income. Although we cannot currently file Requests for Orders to Modify Child and/or Spousal Support, we are sending out notices in an effort to preserve the earliest possible retroactive date for our clients. It is our desire to file modification requests the first day that the Family Courts open.
Private Judging remains open and immediately available. Although the Court has closed, most private Judges remain open for business, while offering video capabilities and/or enforcing social distancing rules. For those who don’t want to wait many months to have their day in Court, this is a wonderful option. The Private Judges we work with have countless years of family law experience, and are exceptional.
Virtual Mediation is another option. Our law firm policy has always been to settle a case if we can. Toward that end, Julia Garwood of our office is Chair person of the Alternate Dispute Resolution (“ADR”) Committee of the San Diego Family Law Bar Association. There are many good mediators on this panel. We can send you the list of attorney/mediators and go over that with you. The members of the panel are charging a reduced rate.
Whatever your current situation, please know that we remain here for you and your family. Whether you are sheltering in place together, or communicating via video conference or good old fashioned telephone, enjoy this time with your loved ones. Stay healthy and safe. We will all get through this, and hopefully come out stronger on the other side.
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