The Massachusetts Probate and Family Courts are open for business but are operating under Standing Order 2-20, a temporary emergency order which identifies the types of cases that will be handled during this time.
The Court is operating with a reduced number of staff members and doing their best to provide the public with access to justice under these circumstances. In other words, the Courts are open for emergencies but temporarily closed for routine matters.
If you have an open Massachusetts divorce case in the Probate Court with an in-person hearing that was scheduled between now and May 1, 2020, it will be rescheduled to a date after May 1st. The Court still has the discretion to hear certain matters where emergency or exigent circumstances exist, or telephonically, before May 1st.
Each county is rolling out slightly different procedures, so it is important to visit the Probate and Family Court’s website for updates.
Can My Divorce Case Still Move Forward During This Time?
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. Challenging issues such as visitation and parenting time and the impact of layoffs on financial support orders, including child support and alimony, can be resolved swiftly.
I expect that there will be a significant backlog of cases when the Courts reopen for routine business, so now is an excellent time to get back to the virtual negotiation table. You can settle your case now, and have your settlement Agreement approved by a Judge when the Court reopens for routine business.
For more information or to schedule a free, no-obligation, private, confidential consultation call me at 508-566-4159 or email at Alan@FalmouthMediation.com.