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Legal services during COVID-19 pandemic

We would like to update you on the status of our services as Quebec’s legal community adjusts to activities during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. It’s a challenging time for us all and your patience is greatly appreciated.

In this bulletin, you will find:

  • new custody guidelines released by Quebec’s Justice Ministry

  • updates about family law services and court postponements

  • links to basic safety information parents must be aware of

  • details on digital consultations with our attorneys, and

  • a word of caution on COVID-19 prevention from Me Goldwater

Take 10 Minutes to Calm Down

Clinical psychologist Dr. Samantha Goldwater-Adler takes you through the Guest House meditation, inspired by Rumi, a 13th century Persian poet.

Your Legal Services

Goldwater, Dubé remains 100% operational and securely web-based for most activities.

The Quebec government has ordered all non-essential businesses to close until at least April 13, 2020. This does NOT include Goldwater, Dubé and other law firms.

However, we would like to encourage clients to stay home as much as possible and follow self-isolation and social distancing recommendations made by public health authorities, details of which are below.

Please schedule phone or web-based video conferences with your attorney.

Family Law

Pandemic-related restrictions have been creating unique challenges for separated parents who share custody of their children. Goldwater, Dubé attorneys are working tirelessly to ensure children in our community are as safe as possible.

Guidelines on emergency custody arrangements for this pandemic have been released by Quebec’s Ministry of Justice. Parents who do not respect basic sanitation guidelines may put their children’s health at risk and jeopardize their custody arrangements.

All basic safety information about COVID-19 for Quebecers can be found here:Quebec.ca/coronavirus

The Justice Ministry outlined common scenarios during the pandemic that require cooperation by parents and attorneys alike:

  • A parent, family member or someone in the family’s entourage presents symptoms of or is diagnosed with COVID-19

  • A child presents symptoms of or is diagnosed with COVID-19

  • A parent, family member or someone in the family’s entourage is in isolation following travel to another country.

Read the Justice Ministry’s information page on custody during the pandemic.

You’ll find answers to issues like respecting custody orders in crisis, resolving conflicts related to the pandemic, and concerns over parents commuting or otherwise being exposed to COVID-19.

Safety Information

You can learn more about the virus and how to respond to the pandemic from the World Health Organization website, as well as resource pages from the government of Canada, province of Quebec, city of Montreal and the Montreal Transit Authority (STM).

In order to help our healthcare institutions cope with the pandemic and ensure our most vulnerable citizens avoid exposure to COVID-19, we would like to encourage all members of our community to practice self-isolation: work or study from home, eliminate all non-essential travel, appointments and meetings, and avoid public transit and all public gatherings.

Partial court suspensions

To view the status of proceedings, visit the websites of the Superior Court of Québec, Québec Court, Court of Appeal and Montreal Municipal Court but note that all are suspending regular activities until further notice. Only urgent matters will be heard. Please contact your attorney if you have questions about court hearings or delays.

Goldwater, Dubé via the web

For the moment, our Montreal offices will remain open during normal business hours but we ask our clients to book consultations with your attorneys by phone or online video conference.

You can connect with Goldwater, Dubé via FaceTime, Skype or other video conferencing programs. We have IT staff who can help you (over the phone) to set up your computer for remote consultations and meetings. Even settlement conferences can now take place securely online.

Email us at info@goldwaterdube.com to schedule a video conference with an attorney or to reschedule an existing appointment.

Prevention

There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus.

• The gold standard of protective hygiene is to wash your hands thoroughly and often, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.

• Use sanitizers like Purell (60% alcohol minimum) only if soap and water are unavailable.

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

• Cough into your elbow (not into your hand), or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces like keyboards and doorknobs. Use Lysol or Clorox wipes, or better yet, CaviWipes (but consider using nitrile gloves, because these substances are rough on the skin).

A Word from Me Goldwater

"For the well-being of your children, please follow government safety guidelines we link to in this bulletin! If a parent refuses to respect sanitation recommendations outlined by public health authorities, it will require sending a demand to that parent, as quickly as possible, for an interim safeguard order, and to then trust the wisdom of the attorney your ex will then hire to convey to him/her what the Ministry of Justice describes as good old-fashioned common sense. If not, a judge will have to issue a ruling.” — Me Anne-France Goldwater

For updates on legal news and disruptions related to COVID-19, follow Goldwater, Dubé on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

(Photo: Kelly Sikkema // Unsplash)