Ainsworth, Thelin & Raftice gratefully supports our front-line medical providers and all those putting the good of the community over themselves during these unprecedented times. We encourage those who can to support those working for the greater good however they can, and show them the heartfelt thanks we all have for their dedicated and selfless work as we battle COVID-19. A big thank you as well to DiPietro’s Market for making the delicious food we were able to share with our steadfast frontline workers!
The line above is not only a reality, it is a serious problem for anyone involved in Maine’s Family Court system. Before the pandemic, people had career changes and job losses and modifications had to be made to Child Support Orders all the time. The difference now is- THE COURT IS CLOSED UNTIL AT LEAST MAY 1, 2020. Now what?
Right now, the only cases that are getting regularly scheduled hearings are those dealing with people incarcerated for crimes and people seeking Protection orders. See link : https://www.courts.maine.gov/covid19/pmo-sjc-1-3-30-20.pdf Despite the real “emergency” presented to everyone who has a job and obligations to children delineated by Court Order, these are not deemed “emergency” by the Courts. That does not mean, however, that you cannot do something to help your situation.
The process for modifying a Child Support Order is the same: a Motion has to be filed and “served” upon the opposing party. If the Courts were open, the clerks’ office would notify all parties of a date upon which everyone would appear, and the matter would end by agreement or be set for mediation and/or a hearing eventually. The fact is those cases can take months to proceed through the system, and if you are no longer employed, you simply cannot wait.
What many people do not know is that modifications to orders can be entered and made effective very quickly BY AGREEMENT. To be valid, any such agreement needs to be formalized and signed by the Court. Despite the closures, the Court can still sign these modifications now and ease the pressure on those obligated. Clearly not all of these cases can be resolved by agreement, but if no motion to modify is filed for months, then the person obligated to pay will owe that money. In some cases, when modifications are requested by Motion and the facts support such a finding, payments can be retroactively reduced but only to the date of the filed Motion. This means that filing a Motion to Modify sooner rather than later can save you money. Call ATR’s family law team to discuss your options and to see if there is some compromise that can be reached, or whether you should file a Motion to Modify.
Attorney Christopher P. Leddy is one of ATR’s Family Law practitioners.
Read more about Attorney Leddy and contact him here: Link
All of us at Ainsworth, Thelin & Raftice, P.A. hope you and your family are safe and well.
Our attorneys and staff continue to closely monitor coronavirus-related developments in our area. The firm has always followed general health and safety guidelines, including those relative to office cleaning.
However, given the nature and extent of this virus as an extremely contagious pandemic, we’ve taken additional steps out of an abundance of caution.
Currently, we intend to continue to staff our offices and remain available to assist our clients. That being said, we have secured our offices at 7 Ocean Street in South Portland so that we can control access, thereby safeguarding the well-being of our staff, attorneys, clients, and the public at large.
The best manner of contact for the firm remains by telephone.
Our general office number is (207)767-4824. Attorneys and staff also stand ready to communicate via email and facsimile, as needed.
To the extent that you believe that in-person, in-office legal assistance is necessary, please contact the firm by telephone to discuss your particular matter with the appropriate attorney.
Clients experiencing fever, coughing, or shortness of breath must cancel any scheduled appointments. And, of course, clients who have any reason to believe they experienced exposure to the virus must cancel appointments.
In the event that in-office assistance is deemed necessary, please be aware that we have reviewed and reinforced cleaning procedures throughout the firm’s offices, including the prompt, regular cleaning and disinfection of surfaces throughout the firm, such as those found in our conference rooms, reception area, and rest rooms.
Our firm’s attorneys and staff must stay home if they do not feel well, or have any reason to believe they were exposed to the virus.
As a small, local business, we appreciate your support and understanding in these difficult times. If our situation changes, we will update answering machine messages, our firm website, as well as our firm Facebook page, including contact information in the event of a legal emergency.
Attorney Michael Vaillancourt helped Scott Giles of ZBC Blackwood LLC and Scorebuilders to purchase Lot 32 at Scarborough Downs in order to accommodate for his company’s growth. The new building will help provide office space and warehousing for Mr. Giles’ business and is part of an explosive growth in this industrial park. ATR’s own Jerome Gamache also assisted with Lot 32’s closing as well as the other property featured in Maine Biz at Scarborough Downs. Their combined involvement highlights the fact that our firm can assist with all aspects of your real estate transaction, guided by years of experience and knowledge by the capable attorneys here at Ainsworth, Thelin & Raftice, P.A. Read More