COVID-19 Family Law Resources
IMPORTANT CONTACT INFORMATION:
For information filing emergency petitions: (646) 386-5299
Coronavirus Court Hotline: (833) 503-0447
If you are a VLP volunteer who needs guidance from VLP staff on a current family law case, please reach out to VLP’s Director of Legal Services, Sidney Cherubin at (718) 624–3895 or email@example.com or Family Law Staff Attorney, Joanne Reece at (718) 624-5470 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Current family law volunteers interested in helping new clients or individuals interested in volunteering for the first time should contact VLP’s Director of Pro Bono, Anne O’Grady at (718) 473-9202 or email@example.com.
Family and Supreme Courts: Closed except for Emergency filings which include new requests for orders of protection or violations of existing orders, writs, and some juvenile delinquency and child protective matters. Court Filings Notice
New custody petitions and violation of custody orders are not being heard at this time. Only petitions or motions affecting the safety or return of a child are currently being heard.
While the court is not open, petitions can be filed by mail for child support and modification of child support orders. Orders entered will be retroactive to the date of the filing of the petition. Support Petitions
All criminal court, family court and Supreme Court orders of protection are extended by administrative order. Click here for the official order.
INFORMATION FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SURVIVORS
In the evenings and/or on weekends, clients should call NYC’s 24-hour Domestic Violence Hotline 800-621-4673. For emergencies, as always, call 911.
Family Justice Centers (FJC), for survivors of domestic violence, staffed by nonprofit and city staff, are available remotely to provide guidance on immediate safety planning, shelter assistance, and community resources. From Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., clients can call their nearest FJC (information available here).
A helpful resource for safety planning during COVID-19 be found here.
HELPFUL PARENTING GUIDELINES
Children with parents who no longer live together because of separation or divorce have difficult decisions to make during this time. Following the guidelines below and talking with your attorney are the best ways to handle custody and visitation concerns:
Please be aware that custody and visitation orders are still in effect. However, if your child, someone in your household or someone in the other parent’s household has COVID symptoms, then you should communicate with the other parent and explain your concerns.
Do not use this crisis as an excuse to keep the child away from the non-custodial parent because of anger or resentment. In the future, a family court judge may question if your actions were reasonable and may hold your decisions against you. Both parents should keep emails and texts to show their effort to offer, change, or make-up visits.
If you believe that following the normal visitation schedule puts the child’s health in danger, then:
Change pick-up and drop off locations and/or time to limit exposure.
Consider other ways for the child to see the non-custodial parent that limits the exposure to COVID.
Offer FaceTime visits, Skype visits, Zoom calls, phone calls, online games or other meaningful ways of having the child and non-custodial parent remain in contact if in-person visitation is not safe.
Schedule make-up visits for when the COVID symptoms are gone or when traveling is easier.
You may also consider reviewing the following: Parenting Guidelines
If you – or someone you know – have legal questions and would like legal help, please call our intake help line at (718) 624-3894 or by starting an online intake.