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UPDATED – The New Normal: Court Access Post COVID-19

The universe as we knew it in the world of family law changed after March 16, 2020, when California Governor Gavin Newsom issued a directive to close non-essential businesses and for our citizens to shelter in place, venturing out only for essentials such as food, supplies and exercise, all of which are activities to be performed with the requisite requirements of careful social distancing.

The COVID-19 shockwave hit all businesses, activities and individuals, including our family law litigants’ access to the courts. The Alameda and Contra Costa County family law court judges, administrators and staff are rapidly responding to the need to regain some semblance of court access. As of May 1, e-filing and fax filing of some documents and emergency requests have resumed. During this shifting climate, it’s important to stay in close contact with the courts to follow and comply with their swiftly adapting local rules.

Our judges and court personnel are acutely aware of the need for our family courts to become as accessible as possible, as soon as possible, recognizing domestic violence emergency orders need processing, child custody matters need resolution and all aspects of family law matters need calendaring for various court hearings.

County emergency hearings are being held in the Department of Child Support Services on matters prioritized by the court based on the level of urgency. It is anticipated that remote hearings by Zoom or other video and audio platforms may be scheduled in the near future on other family law matters pending in the Alameda and Contra Costa County family law divisions.

These are very difficult and unusual times. Enlist the services of an experienced family law attorney to maximize protecting your legal rights and sorting out the administrative pitfalls all of us will encounter in our new evolving era of court access.

This information was up-to-date as of our print date. Please contact Arlene for the most recent updates in this ever-changing environment.

Arlene D. Kock

Author Arlene D. Kock

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