One of the main issues of this pandemic has undoubtedly been that of alimony. Many companies have been forced to close their doors due to the State of National Emergency measure decreed by the National Government and their employees have remained several months with their contracts suspended, preventing them from meeting their credit obligations.

In the event that you have failed to pay child support, we recommend:

Go to the court where your case is located and state that you have not been able to pay your child support for the fortnightly periods listed, that your contract has been suspended and that you will be starting work from the opening of your X block. Or if you are on reduced hours, state the hours you are currently working. You should bring all the evidence you can provide to support your case.

In the event that you have stopped receiving child support payments, we recommend:

Appear in the Court where your case is located and state the months in which you have not received payment.

In addition to this, the First, Second, Third, Fourth and Fifth Municipal Family Court Judges of the District of Panama agreed on the following special measures to be adopted in the food and other proceedings as a consequence of the effects caused by the State of National Emergency.

FIRST: Before the requests for contempt filed with motive of the months of March 2020 to where the quarantine decreed by the national government is extended, each case will be analyzed specifically, noting the circumstances that could have motivated the dissatisfaction of the food obligations in force, in which case you must justify with relevant evidence within 3 working days, once notified of the resolution that runs the transfer of the petition for contempt, the reasons justifying their failure and / or failing that has not been able to obtain the same income or perform in the usual economic activity.

For these purposes and in compliance with the parameters that guarantee a quick access to justice, not only we will have the form of contempt petition commonly used in our offices for those who do not have judicial representation, but also we will elaborate a specific one for your answer where the reasons for your non-compliance are clearly expressed, if any, listing the convicting elements in this regard, in addition to your specific proposal for payment of those sums owed.

SECOND: In the previous case, not only should the person who is responsible for the payment of the alimony justify the reasons for his non-compliance with suitable evidence of this, but also refer his proposal to satisfy the sums owed for a certain period of time, and subsequently the Court, after analyzing each case in particular, should decide whether there was a justified non-compliance or not.

In the event that the satisfaction of food obligations has been unjustified, the court will apply the corresponding sanctions in accordance with the provisions of the food law in order to obtain immediate satisfaction, but observing the health guidelines adopted by MINSA, the National Government and the Prison System.

On the other hand, in the event that the judge considers that the failure to pay the alimony was justified, he will recognize it in a reasoned decision, in which, according to the particularities of the case, his sound judgment and the amount of the sum, he will determine the form and term in which the person who pays the alimony will have to pay this debt without ignoring the regular alimony.

THIRD: In view of the recommendations of the pandemic, the transmission of which is accentuated by crowded conditions, the issuance of corporal restraint orders as a measure for unjustified non-compliance with the food quota shall be limited until such time as the health or prevention measures adopted by the national government safely allow it.

Failing this, it will choose to apply the sanction or sanctions that are considered most effective in cases of non-compliance as provided for in the general food law, coordinating with the authorities or government agencies that are required for this purpose.

FOURTH: As in the course of our daily functions must be settled not only new claims for maintenance and requests for modification and / or suspension of maintenance obligations, whose hearings prior to the situation of suspension of terms and closure of the offices mostly exceeded in the calendar of two months, it is necessary to adopt decisions via incidental regarding the existing maintenance proceedings in order to avoid a greater impact on parents and other users, where whoever alleges a substantial change in their economic situation as a result of the events already mentioned, state their reasons in writing and with summary evidence of their allegations, this is provided for three days to his counterpart and then resolve the Court based on whether or not to proceed.

It should be noted that as a result of the state of national emergency decreed, the suspension of judicial terms and the consequent closure of judicial offices, the decisions adopted in response to requests for modification of alimony filed by the parent and/or whoever must pay the alimony arising from this period, will be retroactive in effect.

In this sense, applying the principle of procedural economy, it will be possible with the answers of contempt, to invoke simultaneously through a special form or format unified by the District Courts of Panama, the requests of modification of the alimony quota with support to the economic effects of the COVID-19, in which cases after having been transferred for 3 days to the opposing party, In these cases, after having exhausted both procedures, the court of knowledge must decide in independent proceedings whether or not there was a justified failure to pay the alimony as referred to in previous sections and in the case of being justified, the form of payment of the debts will be given according to the new quota indicated in attention to the alimony of modification of alimony.

FIFTH: When it is decreed that there was a justified failure to pay alimony as a result of a temporary suspension of work, and the person who has to pay the alimony subsequently maintains the same salary, it will only proceed to determine the form and term in which the outstanding balance must be fulfilled, however, it will not be feasible to modify the current alimony obligations.

SIXTH: With respect to the requests for modification of maintenance of knowledge of each office before the suspension of the judicial terms and the closing of the same later, whether or not they had fixed hearing date, they will be temporarily conned via incidental dispensing with the act of hearing and evaluating the evidence in a summary or anticipated manner with the request for modification and its transfer, in the manner developed in this agreement in the fourth point.

For this purpose, in each case a ruling will be issued summoning the petitioning party to present its original petition and provide the evidence that justifies it, and then a resolution will be issued in which the opposing party will be notified, who through a special form must express its response to the allegations and the evidence it deems appropriate to incorporate in this regard, so that the pertinent decisions can be issued.

SEVENTH: With regard to marriages, it will be decided to allow only the presence of the bride and groom and witnesses. The act of marriage will take place in the chapel of the building of jurisdiction, for which each court will have an exclusive day for its celebration according to its itinerary, keeping the measures of distance and protection that MINSA regulates.

EIGHTH: These measures are of a transitory nature and once the situations that motivate them change, the forms of the procedures described in the General Food Law and the verification of hearings will be summarized, carefully observing the sanitary guidelines of the National Government and those of the institution itself through our highest corporation of justice.

Mgtr. Nelisis Espino Chang