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Lasher Family Law in the Time of the COVID-19 Crisis

Posted on April 20, 2020 by Lasher Holzapfel Sperry & Ebberson

The Family Law Practice Group of LHS&E is virtual!  Thanks to remote access, electronic files, secure document sharing, and meetings via Zoom as well as conference calls we are able to near seamlessly continue to serve our clients.   We are closely monitoring State, County, and Court issued Emergency Orders directly and via information exchanges on Listservs in King, Snohomish, Pierce and Kitsap counties.

Our clients’ issues range from implementation of parenting schedules, particularly if a parent is a first responder or Emergency Room healthcare provider, to child support and spousal maintenance obligations in the face of furloughs and layoffs.   We have excellent access to qualified mediators for Zoom-facilitated mediations, primarily for Temporary Orders and single-issue matters.

Complex matters that are ready for global settlement negotiations are continuing to proceed via negotiations between counsel or, when possible, reserved to in-person mediations at a later date.  Valuation consultants and appraisers are in the early stages of adapting to the crises, including new criteria for real property or business site visits and altered predictors of value.  We are studying the CARES Act, advising clients to appreciate the tax consequences of government payments and lack of withholding.

New matters are being filed electronically with the usual Automatic Financial Restraining Orders immediately issued in King and Snohomish County.

Overall, we are cautioning clients against using the COVID-19 crisis opportunistically, particularly with respect to their children’s residential schedules while being sensitive to the environment for uniquely vulnerable children with asthma or immune deficiencies.   At least one county has issued an Advisory Order that Parenting Plans must be followed despite a parent’s opinion that the other parent is not sufficiently protective of their children’s health.  The holiday and vacation schedules must be followed according to the school’s published schedule even if school is not in session.

During this difficult time, do not hesitate to reach out to the LHS&E Family Law Department.  We are here to help.