COVID 19 Update! We are now offering Free Consultations for all matters during Covid-19 Pandemic.

Parenting Time and Support Obligations during COVID-19 Pandemic

Law Offices of Jeffrey M. Bloom | Hackensack and West New York, NJI would first like to express my hope that you and your family have been able to stay safe and healthy.

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected many facets of our lives in addition to the health concerns. To ensure the safety of my clients and my staff, I am following all CDC guidelines in conjunction with the Executive Orders. My office is now equipped with all available remote access procedures. We are open and available via video conferencing and phone to our clients. All personal injury and workers compensation claims are being processed seamlessly with the respective insurance companies. Although the courts are closed to the public, many ongoing family matters including matters for Divorce, Child Custody and Child support with hearings are being conducted by phone with the respective Judge.

Many of my clients have reached out to me regarding various aspects of family matters including Parenting Time and Support obligations. In the last month, my office has worked tirelessly with my clients and the court through video and phone conferencing to address their issues.

As many family issues are being brought to the court’s attention, many decisions are being dealt with on a case by case basis. As a result, I am best able to assist you when you reach out with a personalized consultation that provides me with details about your specific case.

If you or your family are faced with these issues, you have options to resolve them now. You do not have to wait until the pandemic is over, especially in situations where delaying may either pose danger or severe hardship.

Parenting TimeParenting Time
While there are many restrictions with regard to non-essential business closures and social distancing, there are no restrictions at this time with regard to parenting time. Parenting time should remain the same. However, when the best interest of the child is considered there are may be various circumstances where parenting time may pose significant danger to the child. These situations may occur when the other parent’s exposure to Covid-19 may put the child at high risk. Of course, in these situations the other parent may volunteer to opt for safer contact such Facetime or Skype. There are, however, situations where the parent does not opt for these safer practices. The other parent is faced with violating a court order or risking the safety of their child. If you are facing this situation or similar parenting time issues that you are not able to resolve with the other parent, I can assist to resolve these issues during this pandemic. Parents still have options whether through an emergency hearing or mediation to resolve these issues.

Support Obligations
The closure of non-essential businesses has left many people without an income. Many families rely heavily on the support payments received either through child support or alimony from the co-parent or ex spouse. Child support obligations and Alimony are not stayed as result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Although there is limited enforcement, the obligations will be enforced once the pandemic is over. Court hearingsChild support obligations are also not retro-active so your payments will not be eliminated or forgiven by the courts later. Obligators will still be required to file modifications. If you are facing issues paying your obligations or receiving these obligations, I strongly urge you to contact my office immediately to discuss your legal rights and options today.

Court hearings
Depending on the County, some hearings are moving forward via video or teleconference. Emergency hearings are being held on a case by case basis.

The World Health Organization suggests the following guidelines for parents during the COVID-19 pandemic:

One-on-one time
Keep It positive
Structure Up
Bad Behavior
Keep calm and manage stress
Talking about COVID-19

Families Facing Economic Hardships during COVID-19 – What options do you have?

Renters Facing Eviction

Renters Facing Eviction

The State of New Jersey has recognized that many families will be facing an inability to pay their rent. Housing stability is important to public health as homelessness increases vulnerability to COVID-19 virus.

To balance these concerns, the NJ Governor has issued Executive Order 106 on March 19, 2020 which will remain in effect for 60 days. If you are a renter, you still have to pay your rent. The landlord may still continue proceedings or file proceeding to evict against any tenant, however there will be a temporary stay on enforcement of these Orders, unless otherwise ordered by the court.

Part of the Executive Order 106 is below:

NOW, THEREFORE, I, PHILIP D. MURPHY, Governor of the State of New Jersey, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and by the Statutes of this State, do hereby ORDER and DIRECT:

  1. Any lessee, tenant, homeowner or any other person shall not be removed from a residential property as the result of an eviction or foreclosure proceeding.
  2. While eviction and foreclosure proceedings may be initiated or continued during the time this Order is in effect, enforcement of all judgments for possession, warrants of removal, and writs of possession shall be stayed while this Order is in effect, unless the court determines on its own motion or motion of the parties that enforcement is necessary in the interest of justice. This Order does not affect any schedule of rent that is due.
  3. Sheriffs, court officers, and their agents shall refrain from acting to remove individuals from residential properties through the eviction or foreclosure processes during the time this Order is in effect, unless the court determines on its own motion or motion of the parties that enforcement is necessary in the interest of justice.
  4. For the purpose of this Order, “residential property” means any property rented or owned for residential purposes, including, but not limited to, any house, building, mobile home or land in a mobile home park, or tenement leased for residential purposes, but shall not include any hotel, motel, or other guest house, or part thereof, rented to a transient guest or seasonal tenant, or a residential health care facility. The State Director 4 of Emergency Management, who is the Superintendent of State Police, shall have the discretion to make additions, amendments, clarifications, exceptions, and exclusions to these lists. 

Mortgage Forbearance

Many lenders including Wells Fargo, Citi, Chase and all lenders backed by Federal Fannie and Freddie are offering a 3 month mortgage forbearance of mortgage payments until June.

These terms are usually as follows:

  1. No payment required for 3 months
  2. Escrow payments for taxes and insurance will be advanced by lender and it is encouraged that borrowers try to pay into escrow but not required.
  3. No late fees
  4. No credit reporting
  5. No prepayment penalty during the 3 months. You may make payments even if partial and it will be applied to the arrears.
  6. At the end of the forbearance period, the entire balance is due in full or you will be in default of the loan. Recommended to contact lender prior to end of the 3 months (if you do not have income or savings to pay arrears) to modify or refinance the loan.

If you are facing the economic hardship, you must contact your lender directly. This is not automatic. For families who are in the middle of Divorce proceedings or are considering Divorce, your spouse is required to cooperate. If your spouse does not cooperate, an emergency application may be filed with the court for compliance. Foreclosures are also barred during the COVID-19 crisis.

Credit Card Companies

Many credit card companies have offered to waive interest and late fees. Please contact your individual credit company for options.

Utilities

Utility companies are not being permitted to shut off service due to delinquency. These include water, sewer, electric, gas, telephone, internet,etc. The companies have to be contacted for payment arrangements and to confirm your economic hardships.

Personalized Consultations

Please feel free to call us to schedule a personalized consultation. There are many options available to resolve your issues now without waiting until the pandemic is over.  Delaying may pose danger or severe hardship and can even affect your ability to protect your rights and best interests.

Please feel free to contact our office at: 1-855-208-3650.

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