As businesses across North Carolina prepare to open under new guidelines and structure, the North Carolina Court System is doing the same. Below is a summary of what to expect for domestic court, but the full directive can be found here.
Beginning June 1, 2020, pursuant to North Carolina Chief Justice Beasley’s Emergency Directives, in person trials and hearings in domestic cases will resume at the Wake County Courthouse. In order to limit the amount of people at the courthouse at once and keep staff safe, strict social distancing standards in the courthouse have been put in place. If you have an upcoming hearing, please note the following guidelines and procedures:
- Face coverings or masks are STRONGLY encouraged.
- There will be new directional and seating signs, and social distancing markers throughout the courthouse.
- There will be a limit on the number of individuals who can be present in each courtroom. Any family members and non-party witnesses are asked to wait outside the courthouse until the case is called for hearing.
- Attorneys are no longer permitted to linger in the courthouse to talk to clients or negotiate settlements.
- All calendar calls will now be done remotely via WebEx, meaning, you will not need to appear in person at 9am in the courtroom unless otherwise directed by court personnel or your attorney.
- Judges may direct, and parties may request, remote WebEx hearings for certain cases, such as temporary matters and motions not requiring testimony. These hearings will be limited to two hours and a maximum of five exhibits per party that must be emailed two days in advance to family court. Permanent hearings will NOT be heard remotely.
- All summary judgment divorce hearings will be heard remotely on Fridays at 9am pending further notice.
Family court will be limiting the amount of cases and hours permitted to be set on each day going forward which will likely push many cases to be calendared out later in the year. Additionally, the above measures will slow the court’s daily process for hearings, reducing the amount of cases able to be heard on a day to day basis. We strongly encourage you to consider alternative dispute resolutions, including but not limited to, mediations and remote judicial settlement conferences, during this time.
The New Direction Family Law team is here to support you and your family during this time and help address any questions you may have about your family law matter. Contact us at (919) 646-6505 or our website to discuss your options for scheduling hearings or exploring alternative dispute resolution measures.