Coronavirus Updates: Massachusetts Probate & Family Court News and Update
With the number of coronavirus cases in Massachusetts declining, courthouses in the state are slowly beginning to reopen for business in ways that will soon impact family law and divorce cases. On June 24, 2020, Chief Justice of the Probate & Family Court, John D. Casey, announced a change to Standing Order 2-20, which includes a blueprint for courts to resume live, in-person hearings after more than three months of conducting nearly all court business by phone and video conferences.
On July 13, 2020, the Probate Court judges will resume trials and evidentiary hearings in live sessions. However, the rule makes clear that even after partial re-opening, the court will attempt to keep conducting as many virtual hearings as possible.
However, the rule makes clear that even after partial re-opening, the court will attempt to keep conducting as many virtual hearings as possible.
"The judges of the Probate and Family Court are continuing to attempt to hear all case types/events, excluding trials and evidentiary hearings, virtually, in whole or in part, where it is practicable to do so. The volume and type of cases to be heard will be determined by the Register and First Justice, collectively, and will be scheduled based upon on-site and remote staffing availability and the availability of technological support and training needed to conduct virtual hearings. Because of the unique characteristics of each physical location, some courts will not be able to safely increase staffing levels in the same way as other locations. To facilitate the business of each division, in the discretion of the First Justice, the individual assignment of cases may be relaxed so that all cases may be heard as scheduled."
The effective lock-down of the courts in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic does not need to deter couples who have been planning to resolve their divorce through divorce mediation. I offer teleconference and on-line video mediation to quickly and effectively start or continue the divorce process and resolve urgent financial and child-related issues resulting from the coronavirus crisis while the courts are closed.
For more information or to schedule a free, no-obligation, private, confidential consultation visit FalmouthMediation.com or call 508-566-4159.