COVID-19 Court Closure Update from Santa Barbara County Superior Court

Santa Barbara County Superior Court has announced additional changes to court operations that will affect those planning to visit.

On March 30, 2020, the Santa Barbara County Superior Court issued an Order (full text below) stating that all family, civil, criminal and probate matters currently set on the Court’s calendar from March 17, 2020 through and including April 23, 2020 will be rescheduled and notice of a new date will be sent to the parties. 

Read the full text of the Order here:

GENERAL ORDER RE: IMPLEMENTATION OF EMERGENCY RELIEF AUTHORIZED PURSUANT TO GOVERNMENT CODE SECTION 68115 BY CHAIR OF JUDICIAL COUNCIL

        Exercising the authority granted under Government Code section 68115 and the March 18th and 27th, 2020 Orders (“Order”) of Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye, Chair of the Judicial Council of California, issued in response to the March 17th and 26th, 2020 request for an emergency order made by the Superior Court of Santa Barbara County (“Court”), this Court

HEREBY FINDS AND ORDERS AS FOLLOWS:

  1. For purposes of computing time for filing papers with the Court under Code of Civil Procedure sections 12 and 12a, any dates from March 30, 2020 to April 23, 2020 inclusive, are deemed holidays (Gov. Code, § 68115(a)(4));
  2. Any judge may extend the time period provided in section 859b of the Penal Code for the holding of a preliminary examination and the defendant’s right to release from 10 court days to not more than 30 court days;
  3. Any judge may extend the time period provided in section 825 of the Penal Code within which a defendant charged with a felony offense must be taken before a magistrate from 48 hours to not more than seven days;
  4. Any judge may extend the time period provided in section 1382 of the Penal Code for the holding of a criminal trial by no more than 60 days from the last date on which the statutory deadline otherwise would have expired;
  5. Any judge may extend the time periods provided in section 583.310 and 583.320 of the Code of Civil Procedure to bring an action to trial by no more than 60 days from the last date on which the statutory deadline otherwise would have expired. 6. When the Santa Barbara District Attorney’s Office (DA) files a criminal or juvenile case the Public Defender (PD) is provisionally appointed to represent the defendant/juvenile on that case. The DA is authorized to provide an electronic copy of the discovery to the PD prior to arraignment;
  6. The PD is to screen the cases for any conflicts and refer cases in which there is a conflict to either the Conflict Defense Team or the Conflict Defense Association, as appropriate. If a case is referred to either of the conflict defense attorney groups, they are appointed to represent the defendant/juvenile;
  7. The appointed agency is to notify the defendant/juvenile as expeditiously as possible of the appointment, and the defendant/juvenile’s option to decline the appointment and proceed with retained counsel and, for criminal defendants, the option to proceed in propria persona (“in pro per”). If the defendant/juvenile notifies the appointed agency that he or she has retained counsel, or if the defendant/juvenile declines appointment, the appointed agency is relieved of its appointment;
  8. Any appointment of counsel pursuant to this order is temporary pending the defendant/juvenile’s first court appearance. At that first court appearance, the appointment will either be confirmed or discontinued. Accepting or declining appointment prior to this first court appearance does not affect any rights regarding representation the defendant/juvenile would otherwise have;
  9. For purposes of computing time under Welfare and Institutions Code sections 313, 315, 334, 631, 632, 637 and 657 the dates between March 25, 2020 through April 23, 2020, inclusive, are deemed to be holidays, if the emergency conditions associated with the COVID19 pandemic prevent the court from conducting proceedings or accepting filings as necessary to satisfy these deadlines on those dates (Gov. Code, § 68115(a)(8));
  10. Extend the time period provided in 825 of the Penal Code within which a defendant charged with a felony offense must be taken before a magistrate from 48 hours to not more than 7 days, applicable only to cases in which the statutory deadline otherwise would expire from March 25, 2020, to April 23, 2020, inclusive (Gov. Code, § 68115(a) (8));
  11. In cases in which the statutory deadline otherwise would expire from March 25, 2020 to April 23, 2020, inclusive, any judge of the Court may extend the time period provided in section 313 of the Welfare and Institutions Code within which a minor taken into custody pending dependency proceedings must be released from custody to not more than 7 days (Gov. Code, § 68115(a)(11));
  12. In cases in which the statutory deadline otherwise would expire from March 25, 2020, to April 23, 2020, inclusive, any judge of the Court may extend the time period provided in section 315 of the Welfare and Institutions Code within which a minor taken into custody pending dependency proceedings must be given a detention hearing to not more than 7 days (Gov. Code, § 68115(a)(11));
  13. In cases in which the statutory deadline otherwise would expire from March 25, 2020, to April 23, 2020, inclusive, any judge of the Court may extend the time periods provided in sections 632 and 637 of the Welfare and Institutions Code within which a minor taken into custody pending wardship proceedings and charged with a felony must be given a detention hearing or rehearing to not more than 7 days (Gov. Code, § 68115(a)(11));
  14. In cases in which the statutory deadline otherwise would expire from March 25, 2020, to April 23, 2020, inclusive, any judge of the Court may extend the time period provided in section 334 of the Welfare and Institutions Code within which a hearing on a juvenile dependency petition must be held by not more than 15 days (Gov. Code. § 68115(a)(12));
  15. In cases in which the statutory deadline otherwise would expire from March 25, 2020, to April 23, 2020, inclusive, any judge of the Court may extend the time period provided in section 657 of the Welfare and Institutions Code within which a hearing on a wardship petition for a minor charged with a felony offense must be held by not more than 15 days (Gov. Code, § 68115 (a)(12));
  16. Criminal cases currently scheduled on the Court’s calendar from March 17, 2020, through and including April 23, 2020, will be re-scheduled and notice of a new date will be sent to the parties.
  17. All Civil, Family and Probate matters currently set on the Court’s calendar from March 17, 2020 through and including April 23, 2020 will be rescheduled and notice of a new date will be sent to the parties.
  18. All Child Support Hearings currently scheduled on the Court’s calendar from March 17, 2020 through and including April 23, 2020 will be rescheduled and notice of a new date will be sent to the parties.
  19. Any letters of temporary guardianship or temporary conservatorship with an expiration date of March 17, 2020 through and including April 23, 2020 are hereby amended. Paragraph 3 of all such orders is amended to read “These letters shall expire on May 15, 2020 or upon earlier issuance of Letters to a general guardian or conservator.” New Letters of Temporary Guardianship or Conservatorship shall be issued by the clerk upon request.
  20. In light of Governor Newsom’s Executive Orders, N-28-20 dated March 16, 2020 and N-37-20 dated March 27, 2020 urging emergency action to promote housing stability and security and the court’s inability to hold unlawful detainer related hearings throughout the emergency period, the court finds good cause to continue all unlawful detainer trials without a determination pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 1170.5(c).

THIS ORDER IS EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY.

 

The attorneys at Drury Pullen, A Professional Law Corporation are available to assist you with your family law needs during these challenging times.  Feel free to call us 24/7 at (805) 879-7523 and leave a message if you do not reach a live person.  Calls will be returned as they are received.  You are also welcome to email us at jdrury@drurypullenllaw.com.  We remain available to our clients and community with remote services such as court filings, negotiations, mediation and emergency services.  Please follow us on Instagram @CaliforniaDivorce and come back to this blog for more information.

What the coronavirus means for domestic violence survivors

When home isn’t safe: What the coronavirus pandemic means for domestic violence survivors

For millions of Americans, sheltering in place could be dangerous.

REPOST: Published by Vox https://www.vox.com/2020/3/26/21193814/coronavirus-domestic-violence-shelters-covid-19-abuse

At least 196 million Americans have gotten the same message in recent days: As the coronavirus spreads, the safest place for them is at home.

But for all too many, home is actually dangerous. Every year, more than 10 million Americans experience domestic violence, and experts fear that the pandemic and the isolation necessary to combat it could drive those numbers even higher.

Getting out of an abusive home already poses incredible challenges for survivors. But now, shelter-in-place orders could increase the amount of control wielded by abusers, Alejandra Y. Castillo, CEO of the YWCA USA, the nation’s largest provider of services and housing for domestic violence survivors, told Vox. Even making a phone call could become difficult when people are forced to be together essentially every moment of every day. “If you’re in a shelter-in-place situation,” Castillo said, “abusers are monitoring your every move.”

The National Domestic Violence Hotline is getting reports of abusers using the coronavirus as another excuse to isolate and harm family members. With fears of coronavirus running high and communities telling people to stay home, “abusers now have another means by which they can abuse someone,” Ruth Glenn, CEO of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, told Vox.

What’s more, the crisis is straining the resources in place to help survivors. Shelters, for example, are often group living environments, which are now forced to figure out how to implement social distancing and what to do if someone gets sick. And they’re doing all of that in the face of a likely economic recession and possible depression, when private donations could slow to a trickle.

People who are experiencing domestic violence can still call the National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-SAFE), and shelters around the country remain open. But experts warn that the pandemic is going to cause a crisis for domestic violence survivors that cannot be ignored. As Castillo put it, “we’re grappling with everything at the same time.”

Domestic violence survivors could be feeling more trapped than usual during the pandemic

Americans in 21 states, 37 counties, and 16 cities are being advised to stay home as of March 26, according to the New York Times. The goal is to slow the spread of the coronavirus, which has already led to skyrocketing numbers of infections around the US.

Domestic violence experts agree the measures are necessary, but say they could have unintended consequences. Abusers “get their strength and their power” from “being able to control your every move,” Castillo said, whether that means restricting finances or cutting off a partner from family or other support. Now that people are being asked to stay in their homes, those experiencing domestic violence could be even more cut off, Castillo said: “For women who are seeking help, they may feel even more trapped.”

Some say that the stress of the pandemic could lead to a spike in abuse. “We know that any time an abusive partner may be feeling a loss of power and control — and everybody’s feeling a loss of power and control right now — it could greatly impact how victims and survivors are being treated in their homes,” Katie Ray-Jones, CEO of the National Domestic Violence Hotline, told the New York Times.

It’s not yet clear whether the pandemic is leading to a nationwide spike in domestic violence cases. But shelters operated by the YWCA around the country are at capacity, according to Castillo.

At one facility in Washington state, which according to Johns Hopkins’s tracker has more than 2,500 cases of the virus as of Thursday, staff recently got a call from a local emergency room about “a woman who was terribly beaten and who needed a bed,” Castillo said. “That was the last bed we had.”

And earlier this month, callers to the hotline were already mentioning the pandemic as a contributor to abuse.

“My husband won’t let me leave the house,” said one recent caller, according to Time. “He’s had flu-like symptoms and blames keeping me here on not wanting to infect others or bringing something like COVID-19 home.”

The pandemic could also add to the many barriers already facing people when they try to leave abusive environments. One hotline caller said she was afraid to go a hospital even though she needed medical attention, for fear of catching the virus, according to the Times. And one respondent to a National Coalition Against Domestic Violence survey said she’d been afraid to call a hotline because she was worried about being sent to a shelter, likely because of coronavirus concerns, Glenn said.

Shelters and other services are having to adjust to coronavirus concerns

Survivors “should not let Covid be the thing that stops you from reaching out” for help, Glenn said. Still, shelters are facing unique safety concerns at this time.

“Many of our shelters are dorm-like,” Castillo said. That means staff have to figure out not just how to help someone who has just left an abusive situation, but how to make sure that person gets appropriate care if they are sick — and doesn’t infect anyone else.

So far, YWCA shelters around the country are responding to the crisis with ingenuity, Castillo said. At one facility in Nashville, that means using RVs to house those who are sick or newly arrived. And groups that work with survivors are doing more tele-advocacy and remote intakes, as well as spacing shelter beds farther apart to keep everyone safer, Glenn said.

Beyond shelters, other services for survivors have also been affected by the pandemic. Many courts are closed and many legal advocates are working remotely, according to the Times, making it harder for survivors to access legal relief like restraining orders. However, in many areas, restraining orders are deemed an essential service, and many courts do allow people to petition for restraining orders by phone or email, Susan Pearlstein, the co-supervisor of the Family Law Unit of Philadelphia Legal Assistance, told the Times.

But some organizations are canceling nonresidential services, closing drop-in counseling centers, and suspending support groups.

Then there’s the pandemic’s economic impact on nonprofits that support survivors. “The revenues are drying up,” Castillo said. “We can’t do our fundraisers.”

Still, Castillo and others emphasize that survivors are not alone, even in this isolated time. In addition to calling the Domestic Violence Hotline, she said, they can also text LOVEIS to 22522 for help.

Ultimately, advocates say the crisis underscores the urgent need for more funding for domestic violence programs, which many say have been undersupported for years. “There just never have been enough resources and capacity and access for survivors,” Glenn said.

The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence has advocated that survivors be included as a vulnerable population in federal coronavirus stimulus legislation. The YWCA, meanwhile, is urging Americans who can afford it to donate to its emergency fund as well as to local shelters, whether that’s money or in-kind donations. “Everything is needed,” Castillo said.

Overall, she says her organization will meet today’s challenge because that’s what it’s always done. The YWCA is 162 years old, and, she pointed out, “we also weathered the Spanish flu” — the 1918 pandemic that claimed at least 17 million lives.

But the cost will be high, including to those providing care to survivors around the country — who, while not in the same position as health care workers right now, are still in many ways on the front lines of the pandemic.

Fighting domestic violence right now “is going to come at a high price for our staff, for our leaders,” Castillo said, unless “everyone that can play a role really is able to journey with us.”

Virtual Consultations available.

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Take Care of Your Mental Health Too! Oprah & Deepak Offer FREE 21-day Meditation Experience

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Judicial Council of California Statewide Order By Hon. Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye

The following information is from the Judicial Council of California Statewide Order issued on March 23, 2020 by Honorary Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye, Chief Justice of California and Chair of the Judicial Council.

 

JUDICIAL COUNCIL OF CALIFORNIA STATEWIDE ORDER BY HON. TANI G. CANTIL-SAKAUYE, CHIEF JUSTICE OF CALIFORNIA AND CHAIR OF THE JUDICIAL COUNCIL MARCH 23, 2020

 

The World Health Organization, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the State of California have recognized that the world, country, and state face a life-threatening pandemic caused by the COVID-19 virus. As of March 23, 2020, the CDC reported that there are more than 40,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United States, and more than 500 deaths. In California, the Department of Public Health reports more than 1,700 confirmed cases and more than 30 deaths. Health officials expect these figures to rise dramatically unless the population adheres to shelter in-place guidelines and appropriate social distancing. As of this date, there is no known cure or vaccination.

In response to the spread of COVID-19, Governor Newsom on March 4, 2020, declared a state of emergency in California, which was followed on March 13, 2020, by President Trump declaring a national emergency. Beginning on March 16, 2020, California counties began issuing shelter-in-place or stay-at-home orders. On March 19, 2020, Governor Newsom issued Executive Order N-33-20, requiring all Californians to stay home, subject to certain limited exemptions. Courts are included in this exemption. Schools have been closed statewide.

The CDC, the California Department of Public Health, and local county health departments have recommended increasingly stringent social distancing measures of at least six feet between people, and encouraged vulnerable individuals to avoid public spaces.

Courts cannot comply with these health restrictions and continue to operate as they have in the past. Court proceedings require gatherings of court staff, litigants, attorneys, witnesses, and juries, well in excess of the numbers allowed for gathering under current executive and health orders. Many court facilities in California are ill-equipped to effectively allow the social distancing and other public health requirements required to protect people involved in court proceedings and prevent the further spread of COVID-19. Even if court facilities could allow for sufficient social distancing, the closure of schools means that many court employees, litigants, witnesses, and potential jurors cannot leave their homes to attend court proceedings because they must stay home to supervise their children. These restrictions have also made it nearly impossible for courts to assemble juries.

Pursuant to my authority under the California Constitution, article VI, section 6 and Government Code section 68115, and after careful consideration, balancing the constitutional due process rights of parties in both criminal and civil proceedings with the health and safety of these parties, the public, court staff, judicial officers, attorneys, witnesses, jurors, and others present at these proceedings, among other considerations, I find good cause to order that:

  1. All jury trials are suspended and continued for a period of sixty (60) days from the date of this order. Courts may conduct such a trial at an earlier date, upon a finding of good cause shown or through the use of remote technology, when appropriate.
  2. The time period provided in Penal Code section 1382 for the holding of a criminal trial is extended for a period of sixty (60) days from the date of this order. Courts may conduct such a trial at an earlier date, upon a finding of good cause shown or through the use of remote technology, when appropriate.
  3. The time period provided in Code of Civil Procedure sections 583.310 and 583.320 for the holding of a civil trial is extended for a period of sixty (60) days from the date of this order. Courts may conduct such a trial at an earlier date, upon a finding of good cause shown or through the use of remote technology, when appropriate.
  4. All superior courts are authorized under rule 10.613(i) of the California Rules of Court to adopt any proposed rules or rule amendment that is intended to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to take effect immediately, without advance circulation for 45 days of public comment. A court adopting any such rule change must provide a copy to Judicial Council staff and post notice of the change prominently on the court’s website, along with the effective date of the new or amended rule.

Additionally, the court must immediately distribute the new or amended rule as set forth in rule 10.613(g)(2). No litigant’s substantive rights shall be prejudiced for failing to comply with the requirements of a new or amended rule until at least 20 days after the rule change has been distributed. Courts are urged to timely communicate with attorneys and self-represented litigants regarding the status of pending proceedings. I reserve the authority to rescind or modify this order, as appropriate, to address changing circumstances. This order may be deemed part of the record in affected cases for purposes of appeal without the need to file the order in each case.

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Ventura County Courts COVID-19 Additional Court Closures

The following information is from the Ventura County Courts Press release issued on March 20, 2020.

March 20, 2020, Press Release — Ventura County Court

The Ventura Superior Court will continue with limited operations from Monday, March 23rd to Friday, April 17th.

During this period, the majority of courtrooms and all clerk’s offices at all court locations remain closed to the public. A small number of courtrooms will be operating to hear urgent criminal, juvenile, temporary restraining order issues and emergency ex parte Family Law, Civil and Probate matters only.

Jury Services will be closed through March 31, 2020. If you were scheduled for jury duty during this time, your service has been ended, you are not expected to appear, and have been given credit for one year. If you are summoned for a date, beginning on March 27, 2020, please check online or call (805) 289-8661 for further Jury Services updates.

All civil trials and non-emergency hearings are suspended for 90 days. They will be continued to a new date and notices will be mailed out. Traffic citations are still due and may be paid online. Criminal matters are limited to time sensitive matters. The Courts Self-Help Centers also are closed. Law firms and attorneys should go to the Court’s website at www.ventura.courts.ca.gov to review the emergency orders for details.

These measures are being taken to reduce the number of court staff, jurors, parties and attorneys in order to protect public health and safety. These actions are in response to Governor Gavin Newsom’s Order to Stay Home issued March 19th and the Ventura County Public Health Department’s Stay Well at Home Order issued March 20th in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

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COVID-19 Update – San Luis Obispo County Superior Court

San Luis Obispo County Superior Court has announced additional changes to court operations that will affect those planning to visit.

The following information originates from a San Luis Obispo County Superior Courts Press release issued on March 20, 2020.

March 20, 2020, Press Release — San Luis Obispo Superior Court

Effective Monday, March 23, 2020 through April 10, 2020:

  • The Paso Robles and Grover Beach courthouses will be closed entirely, including closure of the exterior drop-boxes. No operations will occur at these facilities.
  • The San Luis Obispo Courthouse Annex will be closed except for matters on the Court’s calendar. Entrance to the San Luis Obispo location will only be available on Monterey Street. The Palm Street entrance will be closed.
  • Due to significantly reduced staffing, remote options including contact by telephone will now be reserved for critical and essential court business only.

Visit the Court’s COVID-19 Information page for further detail regarding the Court closure.

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Coronavirus and Child Custody: 4 Tips

REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION FROM THE AUTHOR, LIZ BILLIES (Lawyer & Author)

www.thedivorcelawyerlife.com

You can’t turn on the news, log in to social media, or walk out the door without hearing the words Coronavirus or COVID-19. I mean did you think a few weeks ago that you would be reading about this virus on a divorce law blog? Trust me, this was not in my scheduled list of topics for this month.

While other countries have been dealing with this virus for some time, the United States is just starting to see the effects of this pandemic. Schools are closed, people are working from home and major sport and music events are being postponed. March Madness, how about March Sadness, amirite?

While there is no question that the Coronavirus is effecting major events, it is already effecting every day lives as well. And, if you are divorced, there is no question that it is going to affect your child custody arrangement. Are you saying, Liz, I didn’t even think of that! Don’t worry, that’s what I’m here for!

Here are four tips for dealing with your child custody issues in the time of Corona:

  • Have a plan if your child’s school or childcare is closed because of the Coronavirus;
  • Make sure you communicate with your coparent about scheduling changes;
  • Consider what you will do if you, your coparent or your child gets sick with the Coronavirus; and
  • Be patient and flexible with your coparent and your children.

Have a plan if your child’s school or childcare is closed because of the Coronavirus.

Are you in a situation where you still have to go to work but your child’s school or daycare is closed? Are you a healthcare worker or essential government personnel? What if you just need to get some work done while you are at home and you aren’t sure what to do with your kids?

First, check your present custody agreement to see if it includes a provision about who is responsible for the children if they are home from school due to an illness or school closure. When I prepare my custody agreements, I always make sure that I include an exchange time for each weekday and not just leave exchange as “after school.”

What does this look like?

I will generally draft the regular custody schedule language to say something like, “Father shall have custody of the children on Wednesdays after school, or if there is no school, 9:00 a.m.” This way, if there is no school, dad knows that he is to get/be responsible for the kids starting at 9:00 a.m. on this day.

So you may be saying to yourself, thanks Liz, that’s great to know for next time, but what do we do right now during this Coronavirus outbreak and I don’t have that kind of language?

Don’t worry! Like I said, I got you!

Here are some options for modifying your custody schedule during the Coronavirus.

Whether you like it or not, you are going to have to speak with your coparent and make some decisions together. If both of you are home from work this is easy. You can likely still follow your regular schedule and each of you can have the children on your regular days. You may still need to communicate with your coparent on when that “day” starts if it is not clear in your custody order. Hopefully because this is an emergency and temporary situation, you and your coparent can work this out with little strife.

If only one of you is off of work, then perhaps you should consider modifying your schedule temporarily to have the children stay with that parent so that they can watch them during the day while you the other parent is working. This may be important if the working parent is employed at a place where they have great exposure to the Coronavirus. While you may be upset to be away from your children, during this scary time, it is more important to limit their exposure to this virus. Remember, this is a temporary situation.

What if you don’t want to do that or don’t think it’s necessary? If that is the case then you can simply take them to the other parent’s home on your days instead of taking them to school or daycare. In reality you are keeping their same routine, just taking them to a different place during the work day.

I write this based on the current state of the country. You may get into a situation where you have to “shelter in place” or you don’t simply feel comfortable shuttling your child back and forth between houses. If this becomes the case, I again urge you to communicate and work with your coparent to resolve this issue without looking for the court to provide guidance.

Many of the courts in my area are closed so, I assume the ones in your area may be as well. Will the judges treat your issue as an emergency? Maybe. Maybe not. While you may not think that your coparent is being “fair” it really isn’t about that at this point. It is about the safety of your children. You can always work out make up time after this pandemic has passed.

What if you both you and your coparent have to work?

If this is your situation, then it is likely that you will need to rely on extended family to help during this time. For example, I have a case where both parents will continue working during the Coronavirus outbreak. They will likely be relying on grandparents as the children’s school and after-school childcare is closed for at least two weeks.

What if you don’t have any family that can help?

Don’t have any extended family in the area who can care for your children? You and your coparent will need to either (1) decide who is in a better position to take off of work or (2) hire a third party to watch your children during the day. Many colleges are closed and teachers are out of work right now. Perhaps hiring one of them could solve your issue!

Again, working together and communicating is key here. While you may wish to speak to your ex as little as possible, now is a time when you need to work together to take care of your children. Remember the phrase about the high road? Get on it. Now.

Make sure you communicate with your coparent about scheduling changes.

Are you the parent in charge of your child’s schedule? Do you RSVP for the birthday parties and sign them up for baseball? This isn’t uncommon. Usually one parent is the planner and is responsible for telling the other parent when and where the child needs to be after school and on weekends. Can you relate to this?

In addition to school and work closings, your child’s extra-curriculars and social events may be cancelled or modified as well. For example, did a birthday party get cancelled because we are supposed to be practicing social distancing? Is that swim meet postponed to May?

Make sure that you keep your coparent up-to-date on all of these modifications. Nothing creates more frustration than hearing about changes last minute, Coronavirus or not.

A great way to do this is to use a shared calendar or consistent method of communication. If you are using Our Family Wizard or another coparenting app, make sure that you put all changes on the shared calendar as soon as you can. I would also suggest sending a message through the app noting the change. This is a hectic time and the other parent may simply miss it without that notification.

Consider what you will do if you, your coparent or your child gets sick with the Coronavirus.

While I certainly pray that none of my readers or your families become afflicted with this virus, the numbers seem to be against us. So what should you do if a member of your family gets COVID-19?

First and foremost, follow the directions of the CDC regarding treatment and testing. However, what to do and where to go greatly varies from state to state right now. Therefore, it is equally important to check out your state and county’s Department of Health websites for what to do in your area. For example, some denser areas have drive through testing. Other less afflicted areas are finding testing to be less available.

Second, if you believe that you or your child is sick you need to let your coparent know ASAP. If you have shared custody, your coparent has the right to be involved in the medical decisions regarding your children. This would include taking them for Coronavirus testing and treatment.

In addition, if you or your child tests positive for the virus, it is likely that your coparent will also need to be tested or, at a minimum, self quarantine. Again, follow the medical experts in this regard. However, I would think this would also likely apply to anyone who lives in your coparent’s household as well.

In short, this is not a time to keep medical information to yourself. In addition, sharing this information with your coparent is likely required under your custody order/agreement anyways. No matter how much you may hate your ex, they need to know what is going on during this time. It could actually save a life.

Be patient and flexible with your co-parent.

Let’s be honest. No one knows what is going to happen. We’ve never been through something like this before in our lifetimes. So, the more you can be patient and flexible with your coparent during this outbreak, the better it will be for yourself and your children.

Are you feeling anxious or afraid? Chances are your children are too. It is important that you and your coparent display a united front and keep things as stress-free and normal for your children as possible. Fighting and panicking will not do them (or yourself) any good. I would also suggest that you and your coparent talk to your kids about what is happening and reassure them as much as possible. Plan some fun activities while school is out of session. Make some family memories. The less added stress the better for everyone.

So what should you do now?

Everywhere you look there are recommendations for what to do to prevent and/or treat the Coronavirus. Here’s what to do to make sure that this outbreak doesn’t cause added stress for you, your coparent, and your kids:

  • Make sure that you and your coparent have a plan for who will care of the children if school is closed or travel is limited;
  • Let your coparent know about any cancellations or postponements ASAP;
  • Have a plan for what you will do if you, your co-parent or your child gets sick with the Coronavirus; and
  • Be patient and flexible with your co-parent so as to reduce the stress on your children during this scary time.

I want to wish you all my love and care during this time. We will get through it. Stay safe and most importantly, wash your hands!!!

What’s next on the blog?

Are you in the middle of a divorce during this pandemic? Were you close to settling the property division in your case and now aren’t sure what to do next? Later this week, I’ll be posting an article about how the Coronavirus may affect your marital property division. Certain assets have been greatly affected by this pandemic. Learn which ones and what to do.

Or, do you want to know if I think the Coronavirus will cause a spike in divorce filings in a few months? There is info out of China that may provide some insight as to how self-quarantining and working from home may affect the US divorce rates. I’ll be writing about that next week.

Please follow us on Instagram @CaliforniaDivorce and come back to this blog for more information.

Important COVID-19 Update from the Santa Barbara Unified School District

March 20, 2020 – Update via ParentSquare
Important SB Unified message heading into spring break regarding school closure, learning at home & other information

Dear SB Unified Families and Staff,

These are truly unprecedented times for all of us.  In my lifetime, I have experienced a significant moment about every twenty years – the assassination of JFK (1963), the space shuttle Challenger explosion (1986), 9-11 (2001), and now COVID-19 (2020).  We will all remember where we were when the coronavirus became a pandemic and the unfolding consequences for our society.

The impact of COVID-19 is across all facets of society.  Public health, transportation, industry, education, the economy, supply chains, on and on. In our local Santa Barbara community, the impact on tourism, hotels, restaurants, higher education, the service industry, and others will be greater than the Thomas Fire and Debris Flow of 2018.

A crisis is a test. I am proud of our leaders, our staff, and what is being built as we respond to this crisis. I have been so impressed by the innovation and collaboration emerging from our teams of teachers and staff.

Our counselors and school psychologists are gearing up to connect with their students using online communication tools. Our dedicated food services staff served 4,900 lunches this week! Our updated Learning at Home website provides resources and tools to support students’ continued learning at home while instructional leaders have developed detailed plans for supporting teachers and students with remote learning as we prepare for long-term school closure.

Based on current information and the Governor’s mandates, we anticipate being closed through the month of April.  We will remain closed until state and local authorities determine when we can return and we will provide updates as they become available.

As families hunker down for the long haul, our technology, our communication systems, and our facilities will be beacons of hope and support for the community.  As we head into our spring break week, I am encouraging our staff to take a week of rest before we return to reinventing education as we know it.

We realize that there are many unknowns and questions that we do not yet have answers to. Please know that we are committed to working together as a community to work through these challenges together. We appreciate your flexibility as we continue to navigate through uncharted terrain while also placing the highest priority on the health and well-being of our families and staff.

I wish you all a safe, relaxing and healthful spring break.

Cary Matsuoka
Superintendent

Information & Updates:

  • The SB Unified School District Offices at 720 Santa Barbara Street are closed to the public beginning Friday, March 20 through Spring break.
  • Update! Santa Barbara Unified campuses will be closed through the month of April. All campuses are closed and no students are permitted on the premises. Custodian crews are supporting our Food Services teams. Our facilities team will be fulfilling essential functions, as needed.
  • Grab & Go: Our food services staff served 4,900 lunches this week! Sack lunches will continue to be provided to SB Unified students all throughout Spring break (except for Friday, March 27). We will continue to provide meals throughout school closure. Click here for Grab & Go distribution sites.
  • Got WiFi? SB Unified is partnering with Cox Communications to ensure ALL students have access to WiFi at home. Cox is offering free/low-cost WiFi to qualifying families. Families should check this ParentSquare message for details. We are also working to gather data on students who may still need an iPad, or need their iPad repaired.
  • Public Meetings, the Brown Act, and Governor Newsom’s Order (N-29-20): Governor Newsom has signed Executive Order N-29-20 that expands on the suspension of certain provisions of the Brown Act regarding public meetings. We are balancing the right of our public to attend and offer public comment vs. public safety and flattening the COVID-19 curve.  We will be testing various technology solutions to find the balance between public input to the Board and maintaining public health standards. Please check the district website under Board Meetings for updates.
  • Check the district website for regular updates, announcements and important resources in both English and Spanish.

Please follow us on Instagram @CaliforniaDivorce and come back to this blog for more information.

Governor Issues Order to Shelter in Place COVID-19/El Gobernador Emite Orden De Reclusión en Casa

Last night, Governor Gavin Newsom issued a shelter in place order to protect the health and well-being of all Californians and to establish consistency across the state in order to slow the spread of COVID-19.
The order urges all individuals living in the State of California to stay home or at their place of residence, except as needed to maintain continuity of operation of critical sectors, essential government services, schools, childcare, and construction, including housing construction.
 
What will be open? 
  • Gas stations
  • Pharmacies
  • Food: Grocery stores, farmers markets, food banks, convenience stores, take-out and delivery restaurants. Find a list of restaurants offering these services here.
  • Banks
  • Laundromats/laundry services
  • Hotels
What will be closed? 
  • Dine-in restaurants, except for take-out and delivery
  • Bars and nightclubs
  • Entertainment venues
  • Gyms and fitness studios
  • Public events and gatherings
  • Retail stores
City Service Updates 
Essential City services continue to operate and instructions are available online. You can pay a bill, renew library materials, find phone numbers to contact staff, or submit requests, forms, questions, and comments via email. For more information, click here.
Business Resources
The Economic Development Collaborative has compiled a list of resources now available for employees and employers. The website will be updated as the situation continues to evolve and new resources become available.
Local COVID-19 Information
Get the latest local information on COVID-19 from the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department here.
Call the County COVID-19 Call Center for information in English and Spanish at (833) 688-5551 between the hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. or the recorded line at (805) 681-4373.
Anoche, el gobernador Gavin Newsom emitió una Orden de Reclusión en Casa para proteger la salud y el bienestar de los californianos y para establecer practica consistente por el estado con fines de frenar la propagación de COVID-19.
 
 La orden urge a toda persona que vive en el Estado de California a quedarse en casa o en su lugar de residencia, excepto cuando sea necesario para mantener la continuidad de las operaciónes de sectores críticos, servicios gubernamentales esenciales, escuelas, guarderías y construcción, incluida la construcción de viviendas.
 
 ¿Qué estará abierto?
  • Gasolineras
  • Farmacias
  • Alimentos: supermercados, mercados de agricultores, bancos de alimentos, tiendas de conveniencia, restaurantes de comida para llevar y de entrega. Encuentre una lista de restaurantes que ofrecen estos servicios aquí.
  • Bancos
  • Lavanderías / servicios de lavandería.
  • Hoteles
 
¿Qué se cerrará?
  • Restaurantes para cenar, excepto para ordenes de llevar o de entrega
  • bares y discotecas
  • Lugares de entretenimiento
  • Gimnasios y estudios para ejercitar.
  • Eventos y reuniones públicos
  • Tiendas de comercio (minoristas)
 Actualizaciones Sobre los Servicios de la Ciudad
 
Los servicios esenciales de la Ciudad continúan operando.  Instrucciones se encuentran disponibles en línea. Puede pagar una factura, renovar materiales de la biblioteca, encontrar números de teléfono para comunicarse con personal de la Ciudad, enviar solicitudes, formularios, preguntas y comentarios por correo electrónico. Para más información, haga clic aquí.
 
Recursos Comerciales
El “Economic Development Collaborative” (Colaborativo de Desarrollo Económico) ha compilado una guía de recursos ya disponibles para los empleados y los empleadores. La página web se actualizará a medida que la situación siga evolucionando y haya nuevos recursos disponibles.
 
Información local de COVID-19
Obtenga la información local más reciente sobre COVID-19 del Departamento de Salud Pública del Condado de Santa Bárbara aquí.
 
Llame al Centro de Llamadas COVID-19 del Condado para obtener información en inglés y español al (833) 688-5551 entre las 8 a.m. y las 5 p.m. o a la línea grabada en (805) 681-4373.