The courts are not closed. During these COVID-19 challenging times, our communities have adapted. Many families are working from home or staying home to protect themselves and others from exposure. Our court system has adapted as well.
The Courthouse is open and the work continues for judges who are handling essential court matters. In fact, our family law division judges have been busy with everything from child support matters to couples getting divorced.
On March 18, 2020, in Hillsborough County, Chief Judge Ronald Ficarrotta issued an Administrative Order advising the public that due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the court system had to take steps to mitigate the effects and impact of the highly contagious virus. As such, jury trials were suspended and other measures were taken.
However, pursuant to the Administrative Order, all judicial proceedings in family law cases, including those with witness testimony, are to proceed. Thus, most of the hearings are now being held by electronic means, either by phone or videoconferencing via Zoom. Although, the parties have the option to submit their arguments by written submission or memoranda if they prefer. Keep in mind that in Florida, most circuits are already paperless as many of the filings related to a divorce are presented to the court electronically. Therefore, hearings are really limited to problem solving.
Last, these challenging times shall too pass. If you initiate your filing now, you are then placing your claim in line for resolution sooner rather than later when potentially our court system will get flooded with other matters.
As a result, we have continued to litigate on behalf of our clients electronically and have successfully moved the matters forward toward resolution. We have also filed new divorce matters. Remember, you can still file for divorce and conduct your hearings and / or mediations electronically. The process may look different but your remedies available under the law are still the same.
Have questions about divorce? Call Robert Sparks Attorneys to speak with an attorney.