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COVID-19 Family Law

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the Judicial Branch has been working hard to develop new procedures in the family court. Cases that have been resolved outside of court can go to final judgment without a court appearance as long as the required documents have been submitted to the court.

Parties can continue to submit agreements to the court for approval without the need to be physically present. This includes judgment on uncontested divorces, judgment on custody/visitation cases and full agreements that would resolve a pending motion. Information on procedure and required forms can be found at: Some court forms have been updated (as of June 2020) to include more extensive and comprehensive details such as the Dissolution Agreement Form JD-FM-172.

For cases that need court involvement, the Courts have established new court events to help these cases resolve. Courts are scheduling Remote Resolution Plan Dates, and Remote Case Evaluation Hearings, and Remote Case Dates. Each of these events involve the parties and counsel meeting with Family Relations and then depending on the remote event, either an evidentiary hearing in front of a judge or an appearance with a judge to plan the schedule for future court events. The Courts are also holding remote trials and hearings and remote family pretrials and status conferences. When one of these events is scheduled in your case, you will first receive a notice of the scheduled date. The notice will provide contact information for a court employee to whom you then send your preferred email address. Participation instructions will be forwarded to that email address.

All of these remote court events will be held via Microsoft Teams and notices will be sent from the court requesting the participant’s preferred email address. The court will then send participation instructions to that email address. Participants will be required to participate via video, but if they are unable to, they may request permission in advance to participate telephonically.

Our family law attorneys at BPS are staying up to date on all new developments within the Judicial Branch. We anticipate that some of these changes will be made permanent even after the pandemic clears, and we are readily available to answer any questions you may have.