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Coronavirus Relief Act – How it can help Pittsburgh Families

From Congressman Mike Doyle:

Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (H.R. 748),

“The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act will provide relief to many people in Allegheny County. Here’s how the bill will help Pittsburghers:

Unemployment Insurance – The Unemployment Insurance program will be expanded to cover part-time, self-employed, and gig economy workers, and for the next four months, unemployment benefits will be increased by $600 per week in order to provide full paycheck replacement for households that have suffered job loss as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the steps taken to slow its spread. In addition, the CARES Act includes incentives for states to eliminate the usual waiting periods in order to get money to people faster. Finally, the CARES Act will provide an additional 13 weeks of federally-funded unemployment insurance benefits.

Direct Payments to Most Americans – The CARES Act will provide cash payments to most American households, including those who receive Social Security benefits, of $1,200 for each adult plus an additional $500 per child. The full payment will be available for individuals making up to $75,000 (individual) and $150,000 (married). The payments will be smaller for households with annual incomes up to $100,000 and $200,000, respectively, and individuals with incomes of more than $100,000 – and married couples with incomes of $200,000 or more – won’t get a payment.

Student Loan Relief – The CARES Act requires the Education Department to suspend monthly payments on all federally held student loans, without interest, through September 30. The bill provides tax relief for employers who implement student loan repayment programs, allowing a company to pay up to $5,250 of an employee’s student loan payments each year on a tax-free basis.

Preventing Evictions and Providing Shelter for the Homeless – The CARES Act includes more than $7 billion to help prevent evictions – and provide shelter for people experiencing homelessness.

Small Business Assistance – The CARES Act created a $350 billion Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to provide zero interest, forgivable loans to small businesses and nonprofits for paying their workers, and to help pay for other expenses like rent, mortgage, and utilities. The CARES Act also contains $10 billion for SBA emergency grants of up to $10,000 to provide immediate relief for small business operating costs – and $17 billion to cover 6 months of payments for small businesses with existing SBA loans. Sole-proprietors, independent contractors, and other self-employed individuals are eligible for all of the SBA loans and grants, including refinancing existing SBA loans or a disaster loan into a PPP forgivable loan.

Essential Help for Our Health Care Providers – The CARES Act included $150 billion to help hospitals and other health care providers to pay for whatever they need to care for people infected by the coronavirus and keep their personnel safe. The funding can be used, for example, to pay for testing supplies, ventilators, personal protective equipment for health care workers, more workers, training, new construction to house patients, and emergency operation centers. The bill also includes $16 billion for new investments in the Strategic National Stockpile, surge capacity, and medical research on COVID-19.

Support for Emergency Workers – The CARES Act includes $3.5 billion to help provide child care assistance to health care sector employees, emergency responders, sanitation workers, and other workers deemed essential during the response to the coronavirus.

Assistance for State and Local Governments – The CARES Act also includes more than $150 billion to assist states, tribes, and local governments, as well as private non-profits performing critical and essential services, in paying for expenses related to their COVID-19 response. In addition, the bill provides $30 billion to provide emergency support to local school systems and higher education institutions so that they can continue to provide educational services to their students. It also provides $25 billion in aid to our nation’s transit systems to help protect public health and safety while ensuring continued access to jobs, medical treatment, food, and other essentials. Finally, the CARES Act includes more than $6 billion for Community Development Block Grants and other economic development funding to help mitigate the local economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic and the measures taken to slow it.

Help for Industries and Workers Hurt by the Coronavirus Outbreak – Finally, the CARES Act provides $500 billion for loans to larger businesses especially hard-hit by the coronavirus outbreak and the government response. The loans are intended to help these companies weather the shutdown and keep paying their workers so those employees can pay their bills. The bill includes a number of restrictions on the loans to ensure that the loan is used as intended, such as: the companies getting the loans can’t buy back their stock or pay dividends to shareholders for the length of the loan plus one year; executive compensation can’t be increased during the life of the loan; collective bargaining agreements must be protected and complied with over the life of the loan; the loans can not go to  businesses controlled by the President, Vice President, Members of Congress, or the heads of U.S. government departments. The bill also includes rigorous oversight measures, such as requirements for real-time public reporting of these loans, including terms, investments, or other assistance to corporations – as well as the creation of several oversight bodies including a Treasury Department Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery, a Pandemic Response Accountability Committee, and a Congressional Oversight Commission.”

 

Allegheny County Family Law Updates – March 25, 2020 – Divorce, Child Support & Custody

March 25, 2020 Covid-19 Updates for Allegheny County Family Law Issues – Divorce, Child Support & Custody

“Complaints for Divorce and Related Documents

Per Michael McGeever, Complaints for Divorce and related documents (e.g., Affidavit of Consent) may be filed electronically, by mail, or in-person at the Department of Court Records in the City-County Building.  DCR is open regular business hours, though operating at 50% staffing levels.

Complaints for Support

Per Pat Quinn, Complaints for Support can still be filed electronically.  This can be accessed through the state portal at www.childsupport.state.pa.us.  At this time, the complaints will not be processed until the Court is re-opened.  At some point, once we know of a definitive date for re-opening, we may process the complaints remotely and schedule conferences/hearings for when the Court opens.”

CUSTODY ORDERS – ALLEGHENY COUNTY

Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County — Update re: Custody Orders During the Fifth Judicial District Judicial Emergency and the Covid-19 Pandemic:

“Unless otherwise modified by the Court, Custody Orders in Allegheny County entered before the Judicial Emergency remain in effect and are unaffected by the Governor’s Stay at Home Order, with due consideration for the safety of the child.”

UPDATED Emergency Order for Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas – Effective March 24, 2020 – April 14, 2020

UPDATED Emergency Order for Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas – Effective March 24, 2020 – April 14, 2020

-All time calculations for the purposes of time computation relevant to court cases or other judicial business, as well as time deadlines, are suspended subject to constitutional restrictions.

-All provisions of this Order apply to cases scheduled from March 24, 2020 through April 14, 2020.

-Until further Order of Court, the Family Law Center is closed to the Public.

-Until further Order of Court, the Civil Division courtrooms and offices located on the 7th and 8th floors of the City-County Building are closed to the Public. The Housing Court Help Desk, located on the first floor of the City County Building, is also closed.

-Until further Order of Court, the Orphans’ Court Division located in the Frick Building is closed to the Public.

-Until further Order of Court, the Criminal Division courtrooms and offices located in the Allegheny County Courthouse are closed to the public.

-Until further Order of Court, the Magisterial District Courts are closed to the public, with the exceptions set forth in the Magisterial District Courts section.

-Building Security and Sheriff’s Deputies assigned to any courthouse or court facility are authorized to deny admission to or remove a person who is visibly ill or who is exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, provided that they provide such person with information (telephone number or email address) to enable them initiate, participate in, or complete necessary essential court business/functions during the judicial emergency.

-Only persons with essential court business shall be permitted into court facilities. Friends and family members may be required to wait outside the facility. The Sheriff’s Deputies shall have the authority to limit the number of persons entering or remaining in a court facility at any given time to ensure public safety.

-All court proceedings will be conducted by Advanced Communication

-Technology, primarily audio or teleconference, pursuant to the protocol for teleconference hearings issued by the Court.

-Temporary Protection From Abuse Hearings and Housing Court Hearings may continue to be held by videoconference. If a hearing cannot be conducted through videoconference, the hearing shall be held by audio or teleconference.

-Any existing Orders for fingerprinting and the requirement for fingerprinting, except for admission into the Allegheny County Jail, are suspended during the Judicial Emergency.

-Until further Order of Court, no inmates or juveniles will be transported from state correctional facilities, county jails or prisons, Shuman Detention Center, or Hartman Shelter. Where the participation of the inmate or juvenile is required, advanced communication technology shall be employed.

-When a court reporter or other approved form of recording court proceedings is unavailable, alternative forms of recording shall be permitted.

-Alternative methods of signing, delivery and service of court documents and orders shall be permitted. This includes, but is not limited to, facsimile signatures, electronic signatures, proxy signatures and designated court employees authorized to sign on behalf of a judge after the judge has reviewed and approved the document for signature. Pro se litigants completing forms at the Pittsburgh Municipal Court may authorize court employees to sign documents when necessary for the safety of the litigants and court employees. Under such circumstances the court employee will sign his/her name to the document indicating that the litigant has reviewed the document and that all of the information contained therein was provided by the litigant. If an employee must sign for a pro se litigant, he/she will do so in a manner allowing the litigant to see the employee sign the document.

FAMILY DIVISION

Child Support, Divorce, Alimony, & Equitable Distribution of Property

-Scheduled conferences and hearings in support, custody, equitable distribution, and divorce are suspended until further Order of Court.

-With the consent of the parties, any matter may be presented to the Court by motion, without a hearing, pursuant to the judges’ procedures on the website, for entry of an Order.

-Effective Thursday, March 26, 2020, for emergency matters involving child support please call (412) 350-1500, Monday through Friday between 9:00 A.M. and 3:00 P.M.

Custody (Existing Custody Orders during Fifth Judicial District Judicial Emergency)

-Emergency custody motions will be addressed on a case by case basis. For emergency custody motions please contact the court by email at emergencycustody@alleghenycourts.us

-With the consent of the parties, any matter may be presented to the Court by motion, without a hearing, pursuant to the judges’ procedures on the website, for entry of an Order.

-Effective Thursday, March 26, 2020, Monday through Friday between 9:00 A.M. and 3:00 P.M. please call (412) 350-1500 for questions concerning other emergency custody matters.

Emergency Custody Instructions

Protection from Abuse

-Until further Order of Court, all Temporary Protection from Abuse matters will be handled at the Pittsburgh Municipal Court Building, 660 First Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15219. Proceedings will be conducted using Advanced Communication Technology.

-Temporary Protection from Abuse Petitions will be handled between the hours of 8:00 A.M. and 2:00 P.M Monday through Friday.

-Emergency Protection from Abuse petitions will be handled from 2:00 P.M. until 8:00 A.M. Monday through Friday and 24 hours Saturday and Sunday.

-Final Protection from Abuse Hearings are suspended until further Order of Court.

-Temporary Orders for Protection from Abuse shall remain in effect until fifteen (15) days after the end of the judicial emergency unless otherwise indicated in the Temporary Order.

-Until further Order of Court, Indirect Criminal Contempt (ICC) Complaints will not be accepted by private petition.

-ICC Police Complaints will be accepted, and bail hearings will be held before a Magisterial District Judge using Advanced Communication Technology. If a defendant is detained, a bail hearing shall be held before the Judge assigned to hear the Temporary PFA Petitions.

-Hearings on ICC Complaints are suspended until further Order of Court.

-Effective Thursday, March 26, 2020, Monday through Friday between 9:00 A.M. and 3:00 P.M. please call (412) 350-1500 for questions concerning Protection from Abuse.

The full text of the Emergency Order can be found here: https://www.alleghenycourts.us/downloads/Administration/Covid_19Plan.pdf?V=3

CUSTODY ORDERS – ALLEGHENY COUNTY

March 24, 2020  Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County — Update re: Custody Orders During the Fifth Judicial District Judicial Emergency and the Covid-19 Pandemic:

“Unless otherwise modified by the Court, Custody Orders in Allegheny County entered before the Judicial Emergency remain in effect and are unaffected by the Governor’s Stay at Home Order, with due consideration for the safety of the child.”

 

Covid-19 Child Support Issues in PA – On-Line Support Filings and Modification

Pay your Child Support Online – Make an Online Payment

If your employer is not withholding your newly court ordered child support through a wage attachment, or you have been ordered to pay your support directly to Harrisburg you are able to pay online using one of several electronic payment options which we have linked here. This option is also available if you are are not comfortable making a support payment via regular mail because of the new social distancing rules.

https://www.humanservices.state.pa.us/csws/CSWS_controller.aspx?cRQHhArIk0O9Php1qhohHcNUBjNj2emMqERrPzKJijytEHWnI_TLgD9XxKQ2JwwA@_Msq8rmjEBd96qkMotWMQiiG6VIq@BIWDT6wh0DyiMg2L5gsiqW

Request a Child Support Modification – Use This Form (OM-501) to file for Modification of Child Support On-Line

If you have a substantial change in circumstances, such as a reduction of hours worked, furlough or  loss of your job as a result of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) mandates in PA regarding what are considered essential businesses, forced business closures or directives to stay home from work, you can file on-line to modify your support to preserve retroactivity when the courts reopen and begin addressing these unprecedented issues.

https://www.humanservices.state.pa.us/CSWS/CSWS/forms/CS_OM501_E.pdf

File a New Child Support Case on-line using the forms found here at the PA Child Support Website

If you have had an informal agreement with the parent of your child, but due to the coronavirus pandemic, they have indicated that they will not continue to pay you monthly child support, you are able to file a formal child support complaint, to establish retroactivity for when the family courts reopen. There are several forms you need to fill out and they are all on the PA Child Support website linked below.

https://www.humanservices.state.pa.us/CSWS/csws_controller.aspx?ue@BjBiIZmaiEgm7mBpy0Kf@WyTVHDgFaCm4tVlkziHXViVmJSvQHU668Yy9vB4Hat5FS5LUFu008f2fI7h5KY9WGBQAnebIcef6LHfe8gkRr0Y@FWS5

Updated Covid-19 Allegheny County Family Division Court Procedures

Family Division

Child Support, Divorce, Alimony, & Equitable Distribution of Property

-Scheduled conferences and hearings in support, custody, equitable distribution, and divorce are suspended until further Order of Court.

-With the consent of the parties, any matter may be presented to the Court by motion, without a hearing, pursuant to the judges’ procedures on the website, for entry of an Order.

Custody

-Emergency custody motions will be addressed on a case by case basis. For emergency custody motions please contact the court by email at emergencycustody@alleghenycourts.us Monday through Friday between 9:00 A.M. and 3:00 P.M.

-With the consent of the parties, any matter may be presented to the Court by motion, without a hearing, pursuant to the judges’ procedures on the website, for entry of an Order.

Protection from Abuse

-Until further Order of Court, all Temporary Protection from Abuse matters will be handled at the Pittsburgh Municipal Court Building, 660 First Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15219. Proceedings will be handled using Advanced Communication Technology.

-Temporary Protection from Abuse Petitions will be handled during the hours of 8:00 A.M. and 2:00 P.M Monday through Friday.

-Emergency Protection from Abuse petitions will be handled from 2:00 P.M. until 8:00 A.M. Monday through Friday and 24 hours Saturday and Sunday.

-Final Protection from Abuse Hearings are suspended until further Order of Court.

-Temporary Orders for Protection from Abuse shall remain in effect until fifteen (15) days after the end of the judicial emergency unless otherwise indicated in the Temporary Order.

-Until further Order of Court Indirect Criminal Contempt (ICC) Complaints will not be accepted by private petition.

-ICC Police Complaints will be accepted, and bail hearings will be held before a Magisterial District Judge using Advanced Communication Technology. If a defendant is detained, a bail hearing shall be held before the Judge assigned to hear the Temporary PFA Petitions.

-Hearings on ICC Complaints are suspended until further Order of Court.

 

Covid-19 Resources for Parents and Divorcing Couples

The below links are a collection of resources that may be helpful to you and your family during these uncertain and challenging times. These links contain LOTS of information and can answer many of your questions. At the same time, things are constantly evolving during this unprecedented global pandemic.

We are available to assist Parents and Divorcing Couples by explaining how your existing custody or support case may be impacted the changing directives to: shelter in place, stay home from work or work remotely and to practice social distancing.

Law Offices of Scott L. Levine, LLC – Since 2008.

Free Phone Consultation: 412.303.9566.

Allegheny County Coronavirus Resources

Allegheny Alerts – Allegheny County Community Notification System 
Allegheny County COVID-19 web page 
Allegheny County Health Department Facebook page 
Allegheny County Health Department on Twitter 
Allegheny County Health Department online message form
Allegheny County Health Department phone line:  412-687-2243 
City of Pittsburgh COVID-19 Response Updates web page 

Pennsylvania Coronavirus Resources

Commonwealth of PA COVID-19 web page  
Commonwealth of PA phone line:  1-877-PA-HEALTH (1-877-724-3258)

Federal Coronavirus Resources

National Institutes of Health 
Centers for Disease Control 
Centers for Disease Control online message form 
Centers for Disease Control question phone line:  800-232-4636

Additional Coronavirus Resources

American Association of Family and Conciliation Courts Coronavirus (Covid-19) Resources and Information
Seven Guidelines for Parents – Joint Statement from AAML & AFCC
Center for Disease Control (CDC) Coronavirus (Covid-19) Resources
National Center for State Courts Coronavirus News Updates, Court Administrative Order and More Resources
National Center for State Courts – State Court Responses
NACC COVID-19 Resource Hub ACC COVID-19 Resource Hub 

 

PA CORONAVIRUS QUESTIONS?

Questions about how the latest coronavirus closures and social distancing rules in Pennsylvania apply to your existing Pittsburgh, PA or Allegheny County family law case?

Call the Law Offices of Scott L. Levine, LLC today (412 303 9566) for a free phone consultation for answers about child custody, child support, divorce and protection from abuse during these unprecedented times.

 

 

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Closes Courts to the Public Statewide

We strive to bring you the most up to date information about court issues as they unfold during this trying time.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court updated statewide court information last evening, March 18, 2020, effective Thursday March 19, 2020. A summary is here: http://www.pacourts.us/news-and-statistics/news?Article=1018

It reads:

“In an effort to further restrict potential COVID-19 exposure within the courts, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court today announced that all Pennsylvania courts – including trial and intermediate appellate courts – are closed to the public for non-essential functions through at least April 3, 2020.

The statewide court closure also includes magisterial district courts, Philadelphia Municipal Court, and Pittsburgh Municipal Court, Arraignment Division.

In addition, the Court has suspended all time calculations and deadlines relevant to court cases or other judicial business through April 3, 2020. The Court has also authorized and encouraged the use of advanced communication technology to conduct emergency court proceedings.

In the Courts of Common Pleas, the Order outlines essential functions as:

  • Emergency bail review and habeas corpus hearings;
  • Gagnon 1 hearings;
  • Bench warrant hearings pursuant to Pennsylvania Rule of Criminal Procedure 150;
  • Juvenile delinquency detention;
  • Juvenile emergency shelter and detention hearings;
  • Temporary protection from abuse hearings;
  • Emergency petitions for child custody;
  • Emergency petitions for guardianship;
  • Civil mental health reviews (50 P.S. §302)
  • Any pleadings or motions relating to public health concerns and involving immediate and irreparable harm; and
  • Any other function deemed by a president judge to be essential consistent with constitutional requirements.

In addition, court calendars, scheduling notices, subpoenas or other court orders compelling appearance by any attorney, litigant or other participant in non-essential cases are continued or postponed until further order.

Except for ongoing trials, jury and non-jury trials (both criminal and civil) are suspended and jurors do not need to report for duty on or before April 3, 2020.

The Court has offered the following guidance to magisterial district courts, Philadelphia Municipal Court, and Pittsburgh Municipal Court, Arraignment Division (minor courts) with regards to essential functions:

  • Preliminary arraignments (bail setting) for bailable cases;
  • Criminal case filings and subsequent processing;
  • Preliminary hearings for incarcerated persons only;
  • Issuance of search warrants; and
  • Emergency protection from abuse petitions.

The Court’s Order also directs that, during the period of judicial emergency, no eviction, ejectment or other displacement from a residence based on failure to make payment can be made. It also suspends Rule of Criminal Procedure 600 in all judicial districts.

Unless otherwise designated by a President Judge, all other cases pending are postponed.

Minor courts are directed to accept payments by mail, electronically (online), or by telephone where possible.

Additional information about the impact of COVID-19 on court operations is available online, at @pennsylvaniacourts and @PACourts.”

Links to other information are here:

PA Supreme Court – Corona virus updates

March 18, 2020 Updated Order re PA Courts

QUESTIONS ABOUT HOW THE LATEST CORONAVIRUS CLOSURES AND SOCIAL DISTANCING RULES IN PENNSYLVANIA APPLY TO YOUR EXISTING PITTSBURGH, PA OR ALLEGHENY COUNTY FAMILY LAW CASE?

CALL LAW OFFICES OF SCOTT L. LEVINE, LLC TODAY FOR A FREE PHONE CONSULTATION FOR ANSWERS ABOUT CHILD CUSTODY, CHILD SUPPORT, DIVORCE AND PROTECTION FROM ABUSE DURING THESE UNPRECEDENTED TIMES.

Allegheny County Courts – COVID-19 Emergency Order

“Pursuant to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s Order dated March 16, 2020, President Judge Clark has declared a judicial emergency in the Fifth Judicial District from March 16, 2020 to April 14, 2020. The EMERGENCY ORDER sets forth procedures for Court Operations, including the Court of Common Pleas and the Magisterial District Courts during that period. This Order is subject to modification as the situation further develops.”

The above mentioned Emergency Order sets forth:

  • All time calculations for the purposes of time computation relevant to court cases or other judicial business, as well as time deadline, are suspended subject to constitutional restrictions.
  • Additional uses of advanced communication technology to conduct court proceedings, is authorized subject to constitutional restrictions.
  • All provisions of this Order apply to cases scheduled from March 17, 2020 through April 14, 2020.

Pertinent Parts are as follows:

Civil Division:

  • Jury Trials are suspended pending further Order of Court and non-jury trials may be suspended on a case by case basis.

Criminal Division

  • All court events, except as indicated below, in each of the criminal division courtrooms will be postponed.

Family Division – Adult Section

  • Scheduled conferences and hearings in support, custody, equitable distribution, and divorce will be postponed;
  • Protection from Abuse matters will be heard as normal.

 

New Normal, Same Options. Free Info and Phone Meetings

We’ve been a paperless office with full remote working capabilities, redundant systems and phone meetings for over a decade for your PGH Family Law needs.

Law Offices of Scott L. Levine, LLC – forward thinking and compassionate legal guidance since 2008.

We’re also just a call away @ 412 303 9566.