I think it important first if I may to express my inward thoughts. Besides my beautiful wife, I have my seven-year-old son. I’ve thought on how to address this pandemic with my family. My almost 89 year old Dad said to me that besides the fear that the Germans might march in during World War II he has never seen this affect on America. I see this as a time when our children and grandchildren see if we really walk the walk. To this I have said plainly that God is in control. Regardless of what happens, God is in control and I believe we will be OK, though forever changed. I was listening to our pastor address those that wonder if this is a manifestation of a wrathful God. After all we deserve it. But it is his feeling if it was wrath that God was bringing on us it would have happened sooner and it would be worse. All I can repeat and hold onto is, God is in control. Our children will remember this time, what is your message to them?
I had the opportunity to watch a webinar just a few days ago regarding legal aspects of COVID-19 and the ladies from Legal Services Alabama that spoke had some great thoughts. The downside that they brought up are that deranged people will show an uptick in domestic and child abuse. Very, very sad.
Alabama Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-650-6522
Alabama Coalition of Domestic Violence: http://www.acadv.org
With the exception of urgent cases the courts are closed to hearings and trials. The first topic covered was evictions. While you may have heard there is a moratorium on evictions, that is not generally true and it is not presently true in Alabama. During these economic difficulties non payment of rent is the more likely. If a landlord decides to evict due to non payment they must give notice giving the tenant seven business days to cure the default. After that time the landlord can file unlawful detainer and the tenant will be served. The tenant can respond by mail having seven day to respond. If the tenant loses the landlord can file for right of possession if the tenant does not leave. Problem is the courts are closed. Best thing for tenants is to talk to the landlord and try to work it out or have an attorney file an emergency injunction. If the landlord is successful with the right of possession then the sheriff can help the landlord regain possession. A landlord that self helps by locking the tenant out or turns off utilities so that they cannot remain gives the tenant the ability to sue and gain three months rent plus attorney fees. A tough time for landlords.
If you are a homeowner and get behind on your mortgage the best thing to do is to call your mortgage company. If your home was in foreclosure prior to this time nothing changes, but if foreclosure occurs during this time then the foreclosure sale can be suspended for sixty days. Homeowners affected by the economic times are eligible for a plan of forbearance to reduce or suspend payments for up to twelve months but again call your mortgage company.
There are always low lifes who cannot let a good crisis go untouched. Watch for price gouging, phone/internet scams and phony cures. The Attorney General for Alabama is set up for consumer fraud and can be reached at https://www.alabamaag.gov/consumercomplaint or 1-800-392-5658. Social Security has good information at https://www.ssa.gov/coronavirus/. If you have appointments they will try to call you to help with your situation. Remember Social Security employees will never threaten you or request immediate payment.
Finally, SNAP or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is being worked on to continue to assist families and children under that program and may be able to utilize summer time methods of continued nutritional assistance. If you find yourself unemployed because of this situation you can visit https://www.labor.alabama.gov/news_feed/News_Page.aspx?id=203. Workers can begin filing as of March 23rd at http://www.labor.alabama.gov or by calling
Finally, if you haven’t taken care of estate planning now is the time. Consider that and call your lawyer if you haven’t done so.
Remember, GOD IS IN CONTROL. Take care!
This article is informative only and not meant to be all inclusive. Additionally this article does not serve as legal advice to the reader and does not constitute an attorney- client relationship. The reader should seek counsel from their
attorney should any questions exist.
"No representation is made that the quality of legal services performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers."
Ronald A. Holtsford, Esq.
Ronald A. Holtsford, LLC
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