Hope in the Midst of COVID-19: Taking Care of Business

 As John Maxwell says, “If you don’t try to create the future you want, you must endure the future you get.”  The quarantine has affected us all in different ways.  One thing is sure,  you can’t hide and think this is just going to go away.  On the contrary, it is time to get yourself up and go do what needs to be done.  Whether you lost your job, your insurance, or maybe your business is not operational during the quarantine, there is plenty of work to be done.  The following tips are to empower you to get started if the category relates to you.

            1.         Job Status: If you are unemployed or furloughed, you need to understand the status of your benefits.  Additionally, you need to watch your credit if you don’t have the means to make all of your payments contact your creditor and determine if you forgo payment until you are back to work.  Understand the arrangement in that there is a huge difference between forgiveness versus forbearance.  Take steps to ensure you understand the specifics of any arrangements that are made.

            2.         Going to Work:  The CARES Act has more terms than covered by the news media so make sure you know what Families First means for you.  You may be entitled to sick time if you have COVID 19 or an immediate family member has the virus.  If you have kids and cannot work remotely because no one else is in the home, you may get benefits.  At the same time, there are terms in the Act to adjust your hours through the day so the provision may not apply to you. 

            If you don’t want to go to work because you are fearful as an essential employee without minor children, you may have no choice in the matter.   Understand your obligation as an employer and as an employee by contacting an employment attorney. 

            3.         Insurance Benefits: If you are laid off,  where do you turn for insurance may be your question.  Whether you exercise COBRA or benefits under state laws for continuation coverage, or you seek private insurance through the exchange or you qualify for Medicaid, options are available and you must take action.  Contact a medical insurance broker regarding the same.  Further, if you have outstanding bills for treatment related to the coronavirus costs should be covered so address this issue with your insurance carrier.

            4.         Court Ordered Support Obligations:  If you have a maintenance or child support obligation and your job status has changed, you must file a motion to modify support because relief will be available only retroactive to the date you file your motion with the court. 

            5.         Domestic Violence: If you are a victim of Domestic Violence – Emergency options available to you with the Court.  You may contact your local courthouse or an attorney to understand your options.  Further, if need help, contact a local domestic violence shelter to further determine your options to keep yourself and your children safe.

            6.         Small Business Relief:  If you are a small business or a sole proprietor, contact banks that are providing SBA relief.  The process is simplified during this time.  Further, there are other options through state and local governmental bodies that may offer relief.  Don’t sit back,  review your options, and apply.  Your local Chamber of Commerce is also a great resource to provide information for you.

            7.         Tax Relief:   Filing dates have been extended on the Federal level and many states have followed.   However, you should consult your accountant or tax preparer to understand your options.

            8.         Retirement Benefit Options: Changes to regulations regarding retirement benefits have been made to allow you to use those funds in some instances.  Be careful and don’t withdraw if you are paying child support or maintenance until you consult an attorney to determine the consequences.  

            9.         Student Loan Relief:    Relief from payments in the short term has been permitted.  If you continue to work, you may want to continue to pay to reduce the principal.  Other options may be permitted.  Contact your lender and take steps to understand what is in your best interest.

            10.       Estate Plans: You need to take the time to create your wills or trusts and to address your advance directives as to what you want to occur if you are unable to make your own decisions.  Attorneys are working remotely and certain notary requirements are relaxed.  Therefore, it is a good time to address these matters.  Take care of your affairs so your wishes are followed.

            Of course, there are many other areas where we should take care of business.  Simply make a list of what applies to you and use this time wisely.

Written by Gwendolyn J. Sterk

We are here to assist you

We are aware that everyone has been affected by the recent response to COVID-19 but we hope that you find some comfort in knowing that we are still operational and here to assist you.

Whether you are a current client or if you are looking for family law or estate planning assistance, our team is here for you and will continue to be available to address your concerns.

To the extent possible, we will offer remote consultations and provide services from a distance.

You may message us here, email our office at info@sterkfamilylaw.com, or call 815-600-8950 and one of our team members will be able to assist you.

This is a legal advertisement from Sterk Family Law Group. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be construed as such. This article is for informational and educational purposes only.


This is a legal advertisement from Sterk Family Law Group. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be construed as such. This article is for informational and educational purposes only.

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