Emergency Rules for Solano Superior Court during COVID-19 Pandemic

This article will summarize a few of the emergency rules for Solano Superior Court that have been enacted to manage the COVID-19 pandemic.  For a list of all the rules go to https://www.solano.courts.ca.gov/ and click on Emergency Operations Documents.  

 

  • Do I Need to Wear A Mask to Court to Protect from Covid-19?

 

The mask rule currently in place in Solano County Superior Court.  The full information can be found here.  https://www.solano.courts.ca.gov/materials/SSC_EO/Face_Mask_Order.pdf

  • Who needs to wear a mask?

Anyone over three years old needs to wear a mask that covers their nose and mouth. 

 

  • What about a person who has a disability?

 

The mask rule does not apply to anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove a mask without assistance.  It doesn’t apply to anyone with a medical condition or disability for whom wearing a mask is not recommended by a healthcare professional.  The mask rule doesn’t apply to anyone exempted by federal, state, or local law or regulation.  

 

  •  How does a Court Hearing with Zoom Work?

The guidelines for Zoom hearings in the Solano Superior Court can be found here.  https://www.solano.courts.ca.gov/materials/SSC_EO/Solano_Guidelines_for_Zoom_07-10-20.pdf

 

  •  What should I wear to a zoom hearing for court?

 

The guidelines indicate that you should dress as if you were appearing in court in person. 

 

  • When can I speak on a zoom court hearing?

 

You  will be place on mute when you enter the hearing.  You should wait until the judge call on you and then you should announce your name when you begin speaking.  

 

  •  Where can I find more information on whether my hearing has been continued?

You can find information on continued hearings on the court website at https://www.solano.courts.ca.gov/.  

 

CUSTODY AND PARENTING IN SOLANO COUNTY DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC Custody and Parenting in Solano County During The COVID-19 Pandemic

 

The Solano County Superior Court has issued recommendations for custody and parenting during the COVID-19 pandemic. This article will summarize these recommendations as a helpful resource to parents who are navigating custody and parenting during these challenging times. For the complete list of recommendations, go to https://www.solano.courts.ca.gov/materials/SSC_EO/Notice_to_Parents_Regarding_Custody_and_Parenting_Time_During_COVID-19_Pandemic.pdf

1. Vacation/Holidays Are As If Children Were Still Attending School.  

If schools are closed, parenting time shall continue as if children are still attending school and the closure of school for COVID-19 shall not be considered an extension of any break/vacation/weekend.  

 

  • COVID-19 Should Not Be the Sole Basis For Denying Time. 

 

Generally, COVID-19 should not be the sole reason to deny parenting time and the presumption is that parents are considered fit to make day-to-day decisions about the children, with the recommendation that parents follow state and local guidance on social distancing and sanitation. 

 

  •  Parenting Time in Public is Not Prohibited If Locations Are Permitted Under State Guidelines. 

 

If state guidelines allow for the public to be in a place, such as a public park, then parenting time in such places is not prohibited.  However, parents are encouraged to avoid locations such as parks and play equipment where virus transmission via contact would be risky.  If safe parenting time in public is not possible, then videoconferencing or telephone visits should be made available. 

2. Parties Should Work Collaboratively Where Supervised Parenting Time Is Not Available.

If a supervisor is not available due to COVID-19 or government orders for supervised parenting time, the parties should work together to make sure that the parenting time is effectuated in a way that is conducive to their children’s safety and well being, and parties may consider videoconferencing or telephone visits. 

 

  •  Travel Should Be Limited 

 

Travel should be limited to essential activities, which include caring for minors, dependents and family members. 

 

  •  CDC Guidelines Should Be Followed During Exchanges

When children are being exchanged, all parties should follow the CDC guideline for limiting the spread of the virus.  This means making reasonable changes in light of the risk, which may be choosing an alternate place for exchanges with fewer people.  

 

  •  Be Aware of Other Needs for First Responders When Calling for Parenting Disputes

 

Parents are encouraged to consider the need for first responders to be available for emergencies and support related to the COVID-19 outbreak. 

 

  •  Communication and Transparency are Encouraged During the pandemic

 

Parents are encouraged to work together and talk about the precautions they are taking to protect their children.  However, a parent cannot deny parenting time to another parent who does not want to discuss safety measures or on the basis that one parent thinks the other is not taking enough precautions. 

3. Parents are Encouraged to Schedule Makeup Parenting Time

Parents are encouraged to collaborate to schedule make up parenting time for time that was missed due to COVID-19 or other government orders.  Parents should prioritize their children’s health and safety and work together to create a plan that promoted the best interests of their children.  

 

Divorce and Custody in the Times of Covid-19

The novel coronavirus has put a strain on families from emotional to financially, but no place has the impact been felt more powerfully than in homes and families across the nation.  If too much time together is making you feel like it’s time to end your marriage, you are not alone.  If you have already split up, then Covid may be putting pressure on how you interact with your ex and manage sharing children in the new normal.  This article will discuss some of the trends that may be impacting how you feel and talk about coping strategies for thriving emotionally during this time. 

 

  • Divorce Rates May Spike in the Wake of Covid

 

Divorce rates are likely to spike in the wake of Covid.  An article on Bloomberg.com reported that cities in China reported record highs in divorce filings in March when China started to open up.  See https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-03-31/divorces-spike-in-china-after-coronavirus-quarantines   A study in Washington demonstrated that couples often divorce when they are together for a long period of time. See https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-new-resilience/201609/back-vacation-and-now-more-likely-divorce.  Relationship experts and attorneys have speculated that divorce rates will in the aftermath of couples being forced to interact with each other and engage in different ways. 

How to cope:  If you are considering divorce, one powerful coping mechanism is to get more information.  Talk to a divorce attorney and find out what the financial and familial ramifications would be.  Knowledge is power and will help you handle the Covid stresses on marriage, whether you ultimately decide to stay together or to separate. 

 

 

  • Birthrates are Down 

 

You’d think that with a lot of time at home and not much to do that babies would be the business of the day, but not so, according to a recent article on Bloomberg.com.    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-07-29/coronavirus-pandemic-americans-aren-t-making-babies-in-crisis  Apparently, the financial stresses with Covid unemployment and economic strains and concerns about the future are forcing many couples to put family plans on hold.  For couples who need help conceiving, many fertility clinics were closed for several months during Covid lockdowns, which created a delay in treatments for infertile couples, and the economic impact may prevent some infertile couples from being able to afford treatments soon.

How to cope:  If Covid is impacting your family planning, you may want to confide in a friend or therapist.  For some, just voicing concerns about what is often a private matter between couples, can help alleviate some of the stress. 

 

  •  Covid May Impact Custody Arrangements 

 

Since Covid resulted in changes in work schedules and school schedules, you may be finding yourself at odds with your ex-spouse as these changes disrupt your custody patterns.  

How to cope:  The first step is to evaluate what the current situation is and how it can be better objectively.  Try to look at the situation as if you were a judge evaluating a request from one of the parties to modify the order relating to custody.  For some, you may be able to find a compromise position that will work in the new normal.  For others, the way to cope may be to seek legal counsel to advocate for you to change what was set in place before the world was disrupted.   

 

Conclusion:  If you are feeling stressed, you are not alone

If you are feeling anxiety or stress from the Covid world, you are not alone.  A study of people in Hong Kong in the wake of the 2002-03 SARS epidemic found that a year after the outbreak, SARS survivors still had elevated stress levels and worrying levels of psychological distress including depression and anxiety.  See https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200601-how-is-covid-19-is-affecting-relationships.  There are a myriad of mechanisms for finding peace in these difficult times:  reach out to a friend, get more connected with nature, find an outlet that you enjoy that can be done while distancing such as journaling, painting, cooking, etc.  If you feel like you need legal advice on divorce or custodial challenges, don’t hesitate to contact David Knecht, an experienced family law attorney who can advise you on your options and help you take action if that is the course that is right for you. 

 

California Courts and Covid

In March 2020, the Governor issued an executive order giving authority to adopt emergency rules of court.  See https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200601-how-is-covid-19-is-affecting-relationships.  This article will discuss some of the changes that were adopted to allow California courts to respond to the Covid pandemic and provide information on the current :

 

  • In March 2020, time periods on hearings and trials were extended. 

 

The Judicial Council took action to extend the time periods on hearings and trials and to encourage the use of technology in the court. 

 

  • In April 2020, Temporary Emergency rules were adopted,

On April 6, 2020, the council voted remotely to approve 11 temporary emergency rules, including adoption of a COVID-bail schedule, staying eviction and foreclosure proceedings, extending statutes of limitations in civil actions, and extending timeframes for restraining orders. Two additional rules were added relating to electronic service and requests to modify child, spousal, partner, or family support. 

 

  •  In June 2020, Authority for bail schedules returned to local trial courts. 

On June 10, 2020, the council voted remotely to repeal emergency rule 4 relating to the COVID-bail schedule, returning the authority to set county bail schedules to local trial courts.

 

  • What were the limitations on evictions and foreclosures from the April 2020 Emergency Rule making.

Emergency rule 1 deals with unlawful detainer actions or “eviction actions,” and does not allow issuance of summons or entering of defaults in such actions unless the case involves public health and safety issues.  The trials have to be set 60 days after a request for trial. 

The second rule addresses judicial foreclosure actions, staying all pending actions other than those involving issues of public health and safety, tolling the statute of limitations on filing such actions, and extending the deadlines for election or exercise of rights relating to such actions.

 

  •  How have the April 2020 rules changed and where are we now?  

As of August 13, 2020 the Judicial Council repealed emergency orders suspending foreclosure and unlawful detainer actions in California’s courts, effective September 1, 2020.  See  https://www.courthousenews.com/california-court-administrator-repeals-emergency-bans-on-foreclosures-and-evictions/.  According to David Chiu, this is good news as it gives enough time for lawmakers to pass  a bill that provides protection from eviction.  Two bills are currently being debated in the Assembly and Senate.  One, Assembly Bill 1436, https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=201920200AB1436, would give tenants a period of time to earn money and pay it back, but would remove eviction as a remedy, but that measure is receiving some opposition from landlords who doesn’t feel that it gives them enough tools to avoid foreclosure since landlords would not be able to evict non-paying tenants until 2020.  Another bill, http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201920200SB1410, provides landlords will sellable tax credits to cover rent losses, but small landlords wouldn’t be unable to redeem the credits until 2024, which may mean too much stress on small landlords.  

Whether you are a landlord or a tenant, the law is evolving, so seek legal advice.

With so much evolution in the law regarding landlords and tenants, many landlords or tenants facing eviction may need competent advice on what their rights are during the pandemic.  Contact an attorney for guidance on how to best proceed in the ever evolving landlord-tenant legal structure. 

 

How Hiring an Attorney Enhances The Success of Your Social Security Disability Appeal

When you have a social security disability hearing, it is not necessary that you hire an attorney. Nevertheless, attorneys have successfully assisted claimants win their cases before. Experience has shown that applicants who hire legal representation have a double chance of approval than those who are not represented. Normally, when your claim is rejected, as it happens in majority of cases, you have a right to appeal. The appeal goes before a judge who reviews your medical evidence, your own testimony as well as that given by others. This evidence should attest that you are a disabled person as defined by law. 

Obtaining and Assessing Medical Records

Judges reject claims on grounds that a claimant has presented incomplete records; the treatment history is inconsistent or has some gaps in between. Nonetheless, an attorney will help you in gathering concrete records for presentation to the court. You are supposed to request for these records, but attorneys know how to get them faster. The attorney is also aware of sections that need to be updated. Once he gets the records, he will review them carefully and decide whether they are sufficient for submission. This results in watertight evidence.

Opinions from Doctors

A disability attorney contacts the doctors or physicians who treated you and requests them to furnish him with their opinions in writing. This should touch on the subject of whether you are able to continue working or not. Based on the respect professionals accord each other, doctors will most likely respond to attorneys than they would to individuals. On the other hand, if your attorney deems your medical report to be insufficient, he can compel the Social Security Administration to arrange for a physical or psychological exam.

Getting You Ready for Questioning

All witnesses get nervous when put to the witness stand. The same can happen to you. Nervousness makes you confused. It is very easy to give contradictory remarks when you are in this state. Social security attorneys are familiar with the way hearings are conducted. Your own will prepare you to answer questions a judge is likely to ask. He will practice the questions and give you tips on how to give the required answers.  This boosts your confidence and reduces the likelihood of giving answers that could jeopardize your case.

Putting the Vocational Expert to Task

This is an expert hired to give evidence on whether you are impaired and cannot be able to work. If he confirms that you are capable of working, the judge will reject your claim. However, soon as the judge has completed his questioning, your attorney takes over. He asks questions that poke holes in the vocational expert’s testimony. 

 

Trust Auto Accident Attorneys to get you out of Misery

Auto accidents claim hundreds of lives every year. You could also be injured to an extent where you are hospitalized for a long time. Other people lose their source of livelihood and are forced to depend on their next of kin. An accident could leave you traumatized. Suddenly, you are faced with a huge hospital bill. This coupled with the fact that you were the family’s sole breadwinner can lead to a lot of emotional pressure. There is reprieve in the knowledge that you are entitled to some form of compensation. 

In order to wage a good fight for compensation, you need the help of auto accident attorneys. Here is a look at how an experienced lawyer can get you out of misery:

  • Legal assistance: An auto accident attorney is a professional who has gone to school and gained the relevant legal knowledge. Law is such a broad subject. Most attorneys prefer to specialize in respective areas such as divorce, personal injury and auto accidents. By engaging an accident attorney, you will get a chance to fight for your rights. The attorney will confront the insurance company as well as the vehicle owner. If no settlement can be arrived at, the attorney will push for the matter to go to court. Once the case is before a judge, your attorney can seek for compensation on your behalf.
  • Loss of income: When you are injured as a result of an auto accident, you may not be able to continue working as before. The injury requires medical attention. Upon leaving hospital, you have to stay at home in order to recuperate. All this time, your family will be deprived of an income which they rely on in order to survive. A good and experienced attorney will bring this to the attention of the judge and press for an adequate compensation. This is meant to cushion your family from the exposure of not having an income. It will also help keep all of you above the water.
  • Medical bills: Nowadays, most people use medical insurance to take care of their hospital visits. The nature of injuries sustained can deal a big blow to your cover or even exhaust it totally. Apart from the hospital fee, you have to pay doctors and finance the cost of drugs. Even after being discharged from hospital, you may require specialized care. All these should not have arisen had the person driving the car that hit you been extra careful. By extension, it is his/her responsibility to take care of you. With an attorney, you can claim a refund of what you have spent.
  • Suffering: Nothing can be equated to what you have been going through after the accident. You have been through a lot of pain, trauma and sometimes, feelings of hopelessness.  In order to help you get back on your feet, auto accident attorneys will see to it that the courts award you a reasonable settlement.

 

Why an Accident Attorney is Your Best Bet When Tackling Personal Injury Suits

Being involved in an auto accident is a harrowing experience. It leaves you with not only physical injuries but with mental trauma as well. Besides, there are hospital bills to pay which eats into your finances. If the injuries are serious, you could be out of work for weeks or even months. Some people may be quick to give you all manner of advice. There are those who will tell you to take whatever compensation the insurance company will offer. The best advice you should listen to is that from someone telling you to consult an accident attorney. Here’s why:

The Severity of The Accident

If the accident is a minor one, going to an attorney might not be necessary. You can negotiate between yourselves and agree. Such agreements can help resolve matters and end it there. However, where the accident is severe and you have had to be taken to hospital, you cannot just settle for any amount. You need the intervention of a legal expert.

Benefits Factor

A car accident attorney understands the legal aspects of personal injuries resulting from auto accidents. He can wriggle through the bottlenecks associated with insurers. You must always bear in mind the fact that insurance companies are out to make a profit. Much as they would be willing to compensate you, the amount may not be in proportion to the injuries sustained. With assistance from an attorney, you can get a fair amount. He will fight tooth and nail to see to it that you are adequately compensated.

The Contingency Element

Law firms normally charge their fees on a contingent basis. The attorneys who specialize in this area do not charge their clients any fees while the cases are in progress. However, they will wait until the aggressor or a court awards you compensation. Once the money is released, they take out a certain percentage to cover their legal and processing fees. This puts you at an advantage because the attorney will have a direct interest in your case.

Where You Are Accused of Responsibility

This can be very tricky for you. It is also ironic in the sense that you are the injured person yet the other party accuses you of being responsible. Before an insurance claim is paid, the company must first ascertain who was responsible. The severity of the accident does not matter. Without a lawyer to speak for you, chances of being compensated are almost nil.  That is why you need to speak to an attorney immediately after you have been involved in an accident.

 

 

Hiring an Attorney After You Are Hurt On The Job

Much as employers try to make workplaces safe, accidents do happen. At times, it may be due to sheer negligence on the employer. Regardless of the circumstances, you need to lodge a workman’s compensation claim. Usually, this comes about owing to the need for money to offset hospital bills, pay your doctor and future therapy clinics. The extent of injury could be severe resulting in your being away from work for several weeks or months. The law dictates that you should be adequately compensated for the loss of income, bills incurred and the trauma you have gone through.

When Hiring an Attorney Is a Must

Workplace injuries range from minor to severe. In the former case, you will head to the company clinic; have the injury checked ad get some medication. However, severe cases may result in hospital admissions where you undergo surgery.  If you require surgery, are unable to get back to work or were denied medical benefits, you require assistance from an attorney. A personal injury lawyer, as these attorneys are also referred to, will help you lodge a claim and advice on other rights that you have against your employer.

When The Insurer Denies Your Claim 

Insurance companies have this habit of relegating claims and refusing to award compensation. A claims assessor may investigate your claim and give feedback that there was no serious injury. At times, you file a claim and no investigations are done. Another way through which insurance companies frustrate claimants is by offering them compensation that is below par. You need the professional intervention of an attorney who will apply pressure on the insurer to investigate the case afresh. Your attorney will face the legal team from the insurance company and compel them to award you the compensation you deserve.

Delayed Compensation Checks

It is very frustrating when you are being hunted down by collection agents from the hospital and the doctors who attended to you. It is true that they gave you quality medical care and are on your way to recovery. Even after the insurance company has awarded you compensation, they keep delaying the release of these checks. At times, the checks come out in a haphazard manner at a time when you are struggling to put your life back together. Calls to the relevant persons may go unanswered leaving you frustrated. With a little help from your attorney, this will hasten up things leaving you to heal in peace.

 

Do I Really Need a DWI Attorney in Vacaville, CA?

Dealing with a drunk driving case is a serious matter. It is important to review the charges against you to determine the severity of your case. Talking to a Vacaville DWI attorney is an important thing to do as you want to focus on staying out of jail, and hopefully keeping your fine low.

Dealing with an attorney has a number of benefits as they are used to the local court system and will be able to help reduce the charges. Their ability to navigate the complex DWI process will have a large impact on the outcome of your case. Here are just a few of the things you can expect when you hire a good attorney.

Pleading Guilty?

There are some people that choose to plead guilty without consulting with an attorney. This can cause you to take a deal that might not be the best option. If this is your first DWI case, pleading guilty might be the best option to avoid jail time. Individuals that have a high BAC level are at-risk for jail time and serious charges.

If the officer will take the stand to testify against you, pleading guilty is usually the best choice as they can show how you were driving recklessly. Talking to an attorney is the best way to find out what your options are, and if pleading guilty is the smartest choice. If you were intoxicated and driving with a minor in the car, the charges against you will be severe.

An attorney can negotiate a plea deal with the judge that is reasonable instead of having the maximum sentence. The judge in your case is another reason why it pays to hire an attorney. Most judges will hand down similar sentences for their cases. This is important to understand as you want to try and get a judge that usually shifts more toward the lenient side.

Bargaining

Do you have the right skills needed to bargain for a lesser sentence? Most lawyers are trained to debate, and they know how to bargain well. They can get your charges reduced to a lesser sentence, such as reckless driving over a DUI. For cases where an individual has a BAC that is over .15, you want to have an attorney on your side.

They will work hard to try and lessen the charges so you aren’t going to have to serve prison time, or get hit with a large fee. Trying to negotiate without an attorney is risky, especially since the judge may not truly listen to what you have to say. With an attorney, they are likely to listen to what they have to say and will take it into consideration before handing down their sentence.

Hiring an Attorney

If this is not your first case, hire an attorney. Second offenders are often hit harder with sentences from the judge as they feel they may have been too lenient with you in the past. An attorney will understand that the judge is not going to go easy on you, so they work hard to try and limit how extreme the ruling can be.

You should talk to your attorney about your case, and what you can afford. If you are struggling to meet the payments for their fees, negotiate a payment plan with them. A good Vacaville DWI will work hard to fight for your legal rights and limit the punishment you will face for DWI charges.

Compelling Reasons for Hiring an Injury Attorney

You do not need to be represented by an injury attorney every time you have an auto accident or other injury claim. There is always a threshold.

The injury must have been severe and you should not have been the one at fault. Nevertheless, hiring an attorney helps you push for a better settlement from the offending party’s insurance company. There are people who go ahead and lodge personal injury claims on their own. It is still possible to obtain settlement this way but you will be taken advantage of by the insurance people.

Below are the main reasons that should propel you to hire an injury attorney:

To increase the chances of obtaining fair compensation

The detriment of presenting your claim without any legal assistance is that the insurance people will exploit loopholes in personal injury law. As a layman, there are rights you may not be aware of. On the other hand, your ability to negotiate is limited. The story changes totally once you bring an experienced attorney on board. You should always know that insurance companies are in business. By under compensating you, they will be able to maximize on their profitability. Once they see that you are not represented, they automatically quote low compensation figures. Attorneys are able to push for an amount that is fair to you.

Personal injury lawyers have a vast understanding of the underlying laws

Every state has got its own personal injury laws. Ordinary citizens many not understand all personal injury laws as much as lawyers do. Personal injury attorneys are professional legal practitioners whose business it is to grasp all laws relating to their area of practice. They are able to tell you the kind of rights you have and will defend that on your behalf. A personal injury attorney can interpret the law as it relates to your resident state. Besides, they have a vast experience that has come about from their handling of similar cases before.

Fair representation

There arises a situation where, the insurance company has awarded compensation. In your opinion, you feel that the amount in question is too low.

If you believe that you have been given an unfair settlement, look for a lawyer who is ready to dispute the settlement in front of a judge. In most cases, insurance companies do not like such matters getting into the public domain. This may ruin their reputation. A personal injury attorney will use such techniques as putting pressure on the insurer to either increase the settlement or have the matter go to court.