Important Update Regarding COVID-19

  1. Child Custody
  2. Important Update Regarding COVID-19

N.C. Supreme Court April 2nd Order includes updated COVID-19 directives that may affect your court case. Please review a quick note from New Direction Family Law regarding these changes.

We hope that you and your family are safe and faring well under the Stay-At-Home Order. We have updated information that affects our court systems.

The Chief Justice of the N.C. Supreme Court issued a new order last week (issued on April 3, and signed on April 2, 2020) stating that superior and district court proceedings including almost all family/domestic court hearings are to be scheduled or rescheduled past June 1, 2020. This new order applies to all hearings set between now and May 1, 2020. The last page of the order also states that these directives will likely last through the month of May 2020 until June 1, 2020, as well. The Order of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of North Carolina signed on April 2, 2020, can be found HERE. Below is a summary of how this order may apply to your case.

If you have a hearing scheduled in April: Your hearing will be continued to a date after June 1, 2020. We expect for it to be automatically continued to another date by court clerks and family court case coordinators as were the March hearings. We, unfortunately, do not get to pick the rescheduled court date at this time. If there are serious conflicts on the rescheduled court date, please contact our office. We will file a Motion to Continue the rescheduled court date to a later date.

If you have a hearing scheduled in May: It is very likely (but not 100% certain) that your hearing will also be continued until after June 1, 2020. Our family court may be offering virtual hearings on some temporary matters if both parties agree to have the hearing virtually. See above paragraph about the rescheduled court dates.

If you want to file for divorce: Some divorces may still be granted. If both parties are in agreement or one party fails to answer the divorce complaint, there is a chance we may be able to submit your divorce without having a hearing (“Divorce by the Clerk”). If your divorce is contested, meaning one party does not agree that you have been separated for a full year and one day, we cannot have a hearing on that matter until at least June 1, 2020. If your divorce is uncontested, please reach out to Carly and Rosa, so they can review your case file and determine if it may qualify for a Divorce by the Clerk.

If you are in need of an emergency order such as a Domestic Violence Protective Order or Emergency Child Custody Order: We can proceed on these matters, as there are specific allowances for emergency relief. You should speak with your attorney and assigned paralegal to determine if you have a claim for this emergency relief and the best way to pursue it.

If you had a hearing set in March, April, or May: We strongly encourage you to consider private mediation. Many mediators are offering their services virtually. We would be happy to attend virtual mediation with you in an attempt to reach a resolution on your outstanding issues. If you are interested in scheduling a mediation date, we can accommodate private mediations for all issues including custody and child support, equitable distribution, and spousal support. Please speak with your attorney and assigned paralegal if you are interested in scheduling a mediation date. We can reach out to the opposing party or opposing counsel to find out if they are amenable to attending mediation. Many of our local mediators are having success in reaching settlements through Zoom and other video chat platforms on all of these issues since there is no guarantee of having your case heard until mid-summer at the earliest.

The New Direction Family Law team is here to support you and your family during this uncertain and stressful time. Contact us at (919) 719-3470 or our website to discuss your options for scheduling hearings or exploring alternative resolution measures.

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