Dear Clients and Friends of Fields and Dennis:
We hope you are staying well in this difficult new environment. Like most people, we have had to reimagine the way we do business. Most of us are working remotely but we are fully operational. We are conducting meetings by videoconference, phone, and, of course, email, and stand ready to assist you with questions you may have. We have thought about some things that might be relevant to you regarding the current crisis:
In Massachusetts, the courts are closed except for emergencies – although it is not clear what qualifies as an emergency. That said, there are still many issues that can be resolved through negotiation and other modes of dispute resolution.
COVID-19 and Parenting Plans
The COVID-19 pandemic may impact parenting plans. At our firm, we are staying up to date on this issue. We are reviewing new court rules, CDC guidelines, and federal and state directives. We are attending webinars, communicating with other experienced practitioners — locally, nationally, and internationally — so that we can provide you with the very best counsel in this new world.
We are also monitoring the advice of recognized national associations like the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, the American Bar Association Family Law Section and the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts. Additionally, we are communicating with attorneys in communities that are experiencing greater travel restrictions so we can appropriately plan for what is likely coming in the near future.
Financial Impact of COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic may impact many of you financially. To that end, The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”) was signed into law on March 27, 2020, in order to provide important financial benefits to individuals and companies (including small businesses). We have been reviewing this law to see how it can assist our clients. Of course, many of you are aware of the one-time lump sum stimulus payment to which some Americans may be entitled. Some of you may qualify to withdraw monies from retirement plans without penalty. Business owners may qualify for any number of benefits, including forgivable loans to maintain employees on payroll. This is an enormously complex new law and no actions should be taken without consulting an attorney.
In the event you are terminated or suffer a loss of income, a modification of an existing support obligation may be warranted. Of course, in this case, please contact us so that we can help strategize the best solution in the current environment.
Please know that we hope everyone takes care of themselves and that we are a phone call, email, or videoconference away.
Take care of yourselves,
FIELDS AND DENNIS, LLP