I hope everyone is staying safe and following the directives of the CDC. This pandemic was very unexpected and occurred so suddenly. It also appears that it will be with us for a very long time. The “new normal” is what we make it and what we will be doing for a while. But I believe we have always been and always will be survivors. It will be a Brave New World that we will make the best of for us and our children.
So our law firm is going to do things a little differently for the near future. First, we are going to be limiting in person meetings and instead primarily relying on utilizing emails, phone calls and especially video conferencing. I have represented clients from out of state on several occasions where we only meet in cyberspace, never in person. I would prefer meet face-to-face, but I would much rather keep everyone to feel comfortable and safe as possible. For in-person meetings and mediations, we have plexiglass dividers between clients and attorneys and we are social distancing and wearing masks. We are also completely sanitizing the meeting room/offices after every in-person visits.
For current clients, we do have a big mail slot by the front door of our office. Feel free to drop copies of paperwork off and then either email or call us. Most everything we do can be handled by email and phone calls… the most obvious exception is actually going to Court. Courts are conducting hearings and most matters via video conferencing. The Court uses either the Bluejeans or Microsoft Teams video conferencing platform…not as fancy as Zoom video confermnecing but very good in other ways. For protective orders and other emergencies contact us if right away and we will see what can be done to get an immediate Court order.
As to our mediations, we have a webpage for you to book your dates online…https://www.matthewpgomez.com/book-an-appointment/ OR, if you prefer, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us (918)794-5587 and we will send you an updated list of dates and times. We are currently using a blended method for mediations. We can either send you a link for a videoconference or you can meet in-person at the office with precautions. We can maintain the 6 feet social distance barrier with no problem.
The plan for video-conference mediations is to use the ZOOM app for video conferencing. It is basically like Facetime or Skype, except that it was made to talk to a group not just one person. You can download and use Zoom from your personal computer IF you have a microphone and a webcam. For Windows computers, use this link https://zoom.us/support/download for the Mac follow this link: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/203020795-How-To-Install-on-Mac If you have a laptop, the mic and camera are probably built in so that is convenient. Of course, the easiest way may be to just use your cell phone and download the zoom app to use your built-in camera and mic. Mobile apps are Here:
https://apps.apple.com/us/app/id546505307. See the directions below.
Once all the parties and their attorneys agree to a date and time, our office will email a confirmation letter with important mediation information. Prior to the actual mediation date we will also email a zoom “invitation” that has the date time and the link to our online meeting room. All you need to do is download the zoom app following the directions above and then click on the link in the email about your mediation and you will be taken to the virtual mediation room. There will be a “waiting for the meeting” screen that says the meeting is about to begin. If there are any technical difficulties or you have problems, just call my assistant or myself at (918) 794-5587 and we can walk you through it. When everyone is online and ready, the mediation can begin. You basically are still in separate rooms because only I can see everyone. I will go back and forth between the parties discussing how to best settle the issues that are holding us up from settlement. Once we have worked everything out, I will draft up a written agreement and email it to everyone to sign and send back to me. Once everyone has signed, I will email your attorney all the signature pages so they can begin working on drafting the formal order for the Judge to sign. As to payment, my assistant can take credit/debt card information over the phone for payment and a receipt will be emailed to you.
We will also be using conference calls for those without viable webcam access.
As events change, I will do my best to be work with everyone on after-hours help, weekends or whatever it takes. We look forward to working with you. Stay safe and we look forward to hearing from you soon.
*** Update on PPC and Temporary Order requirements 9-1-20***
- At the time of filing, you will be given a date for your Parenting Plan Conference (PPC)
- The PPC date is when you will reach a Temporary Order Agreement in your case.
- Check with the Department of Human Services (DHS) to see if they are interested party in your case or if they have filed a disclaimer indicating they do not have an interest in your case. ** 918-581-5286**
- If DHS is an interested party in your case, they must sign any Temporary or Final Order paperwork in your case.
- Go to the website tulsacountydistrictcourt.org and watch the following required videos prior to your PPC appearance date:
- Judge’s “Parenting Through Divorce” video, and
- “Listen to the Voices of the Children of Divorce” video
- After watching both videos, print out the Attestation Form available on the same website and sign it in front of a Notary Public. (NOTE: You are signing this document under penalty of perjury), then file it at the Family Department on the 2nd floor of the Courthouse. Bring a file-stamped copy to your PPC.
- Sign up for your required parenting course. You may take either:
- “Helping Children Cope with Divorce” offered by Family & Children’s Services in Tulsa fcsok.org , or
- “Co-Parenting for Resilience” through Oklahoma State University here in Tulsa https://humansciences.okstate.edu/fcs/coparenting/
- If you do all of the following within 30 days of your filing date, your PPC setting may be waived.
- Watch both required videos
- File the Attestation
- Complete the Required Parenting Class
- Reach a Temporary Order Agreement & Provide it to the Court
- Temporary Order Paperwork is available on the Tulsa County District Court Website http://tulsacountydistrictcourt.org
- If you have questions, please contact us and we can help.
Using Zoom Meetings for Mobile
For those of you without access to a computer, you can use your mobile phone to participate in the Zoom Meeting. Please follow the steps below:
1. Download the Zoom app from the appropriate store app (Apple Store or Play Store).
2. Once ready to join the meeting, open the Zoom app on your mobile.
3. Click the button “Join Meeting” to begin.
4. Enter in your Meeting ID and a Name if Desired.
5. Click Join Meeting.
6. You may be prompted to allow your mobile phone to access your camera and microphone, allow these both. You will then see a preview window. You can choose to turn this preview off using the slider below.
You are now ready to connect to the meeting.
Once you are ready to leave the meeting, touch your screen and the menu options will appear. Click “Leave Meeting” to disconnect.