So far, COVID-19 has had a profound impact on a wide range of legal matters. Life and circumstances have changed for many different people while quarantining and social distancing. COVID-19 has also had an impact on employment in America. As a result, many Americans are grappling with the financial issues from the pandemic. Attorney Aubrey Harry Ducker Jr., along with attorneys at CPLS are going to examine alimony issues during the COVID-19 crisis.
An irrevocable trust is a type of trust where its terms cannot be modified, amended, or terminated without the permission of the grantor’s named beneficiary or beneficiaries. The grantor, having effectively transferred all ownership of assets into the trust, legally removes all their rights of ownership to the assets and the trust.
How Court Filings and Hearings Have Been Affected
By the Coronavirus in Florida
Court filings and hearings have been affected by the coronavirus in Florida and social distancing is not making anything any easier. Social distancing is the norm these days, and there is little indication that that is going to change any time soon. Some states have been slower than others in implementing social distancing concepts to their court procedures but most have eliminated all but essential in-person appearances and filings in favor of telephonic and video appearances and electronic filings. However, Florida is no different. This article will set forth what attorneys and their clients can expect in the State of Florida during the COVID-19 pandemic.
What is Social Distancing?
Social distancing is the actions one takes to limit face-to-face contact and slow the spread of the highly-contagious coronavirus. One recommended social distancing action is to keep at least 6 feet away from others. As of this writing (April 17, 2020), the federal government has mandated that social distancing be practiced at least until April 30. Although, this deadline may be longer.
Is Florida Practiced Social Distancing?
Yes. On March 1, 2020, the State of Florida Surgeon General and State Health Officer declared a Public Health Emergency. On March 9, 2020, Governor Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency for the entire State of Florida, directing interstate travelers to Florida to self-quarantine for 14 days or the duration of their trip, whichever was shorter. He also directed Floridians to limit their travel to essential travel and avoid groupings of 10 or more people, among other things.
How is the COVID-19 Pandemic Affecting Court Proceedings in
the State of Florida?
On April 6, 2020, Chief Justice Charles T. Canady issued an administrative order, AOSC20-23 to clarify and extend previously enacted temporary social distancing measures created by six previous orders, effective through May 29, 2020. These measures include:
● Suspending prohibitions on conducting court proceedings electronically or remotely;
● Suspending prohibitions on giving sworn testimony electronically or remotely;
● Providing for the administration of oaths via the audio-visual system;
● Suspending all grand jury and jury selection proceedings;
● Suspending criminal and civil jury trials;
● Restricting trial court proceedings to a limited number of “essential” proceedings;
● Suspending certain time periods in criminal procedure;
● Suspending speedy trial time periods in non-criminal traffic infraction proceedings;
● Suspending the issuance of writs of possession;
● Suspending the requirement that certain family law forms be notarized or also signed in the presence of a deputy clerk.
What are “Essential” Court Proceedings?
Chief Justice Canady deemed the following types of court proceedings “essential,” and these will continue to be held throughout the duration of the public health emergency, despite other restrictions:
● First appearance in a criminal trial;
● Criminal arraignments;
● Motion hearings to set or modify bail for individuals in custody;
● Juvenile dependency shelter hearings;
● Hearings on petitions for injunctions related to the safety of an individual;
● Hearings on petitions for risk protection orders;
● Hearings to appoint emergency temporary guardians;
● Hearings to determine whether an individual should be involuntarily committed under the Baker Act or the Marchman Act;
● Hearings on petitions for extraordinary writs, to protect constitutional rights.
Additionally, any proceeding related to violations of the rules and laws relative to restricting the spread of COVID-19 is also deemed “essential” and will be held. These proceedings include but are not limited to those related to:
● quarantine or isolation violations,
● violations of the order to limit travel,
● violations of the order to close public or private buildings, and
● enforcement of curfew.
The Chief Justice also charged the circuit and county chief judges to cancel any non-critical and non-essential court proceedings or events that cannot be held remotely or electronically for whatever reason. The court system’s COVID-19 emergency webpage has more information.
Additional Proceedings Could Be Essential
In sum, any court proceeding not deemed essential is suspended or postponed. However, because the Chief Justice did give each circuit and county chief judge discretion to deem other critical proceedings “essential” and hold them during this crisis. You or your attorney should check with the court in which your matter is being heard. Find out about the status of the case.
About the Author
Veronica Baxter is a legal assistant and blogger living and working in the great city of Philadelphia. She frequently works with Todd Mosser, Esq., a busy Philadelphia appeals attorney.
Seminar on Estate Planning
About Aubrey Harry Ducker Jr.
About CPLS, P.A.
New York teen feared the safety of her life when she was kidnapped by Uber driver, who the police say wastrying to sexually assault her. The teenage girl said she told the driver she had to use the bathroom and called 911 from the McDonald’s restaurant. What was supposed to be a 20 minute ride home, turned into an hour of horror. 15-year-old says she was abducted last summer and feared for her life.
NBI Seminar 30 Steps to a Perfect Probate – In case you missed the first one, this is another seminar on probate law. Once again, Aubrey Law is going to be a speaker at this seminar 30 Steps to Perfect Probate. This is a 2-day seminar where experienced lawyers will share their insights on probate law. There will be a special focus on strategic decision-making to minimize tax burdens, speed up the process and alleviate conflict.
NBI Seminar – Aubrey Law is going to be a speaker at the NBI Live Seminar on 30 Steps to Perfect Probate. This is a 2-day seminar where experienced lawyers will share their insights on probate law. There will also be a special focus on strategic decision-making to minimize tax burdens, speed up the process and alleviate conflict.
Aubrey Ducker has been selected to the 2017 Florida American Jurist Institute Top 10 Attorneys list for Family Law! Each year, no more than 10 lawyers in the state are selected by the selection council at the American Jurist Institute to receive this honor. For more information about American Jurist Institute, visit AmericanJurist.com.
Aubrey presented at the National Business Institute NBI Seminar on Elder Law and Medicaid Planning. His presentation was on Elder Law and Medicaid Planning: Everything you need to know A 2-Day Practical Course. The presentation also went over long-term planning, heathcare, and heirs.
The Baptist Joint Committee For Religious Liberty reported that Justice Stephen Breyer helped open the Baptist Joint Committee’s new Center for Religious Liberty on Capitol Hill. The Center will increase the BJC’s work capacity as the organization continues to file briefs and work with Congress and the White House.