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Family Court Proceedings Delayed Due to Coronavirus

Table and chair in the courtroom of the judiciary.

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, federal, state, and local governments are suspending many governmental proceedings and closing government offices to limit the spread. New Jersey courts have, for the most part, closed for in-person proceedings. Read on to learn about the closure and how it may affect your ongoing divorce, child custody dispute, or other family law matter. Speak with an experienced New Jersey family law attorney if you have any questions or for help with a family law issue.

In-court proceedings are likely postponed

In New Jersey, matters relating to family law are heard in the Superior Court. According to New Jersey court officials, as of March 18, 2020, there will be no more in-person Superior Court proceedings for the time being, with limited exceptions. The closure is currently indefinite, so you should not expect to start again on April 1 unless you receive further notice. Even ongoing trials will be postponed, except in limited circumstances. Certain matters, such as domestic violence restraining orders and bail hearings, may still proceed. You can still contact the court for certain emergency applications. If there are appearances that must go forward, they are likely to be handled via telephone or video conference.

You can call the court directly or have your attorney contact the court to confirm whether your scheduled hearing, motion, conference, or other matter will proceed as scheduled or be postponed.

Filings and discovery may proceed on schedule or be delayed

The court is also not accepting in-person submissions for court filings. The court is still accepting filings electronically, via mail and drop-off. Your family law attorney will strive to get clear guidance from the judge in your matter whether the deadlines for requesting and producing discovery, pleadings, motions, and other court filings remain as scheduled or are delayed due to the court closure. Many courts are granting extensions for deadlines that fall in the last few weeks of March or the beginning of April, and courts are likely to be forgiving with requests for extensions at this time.

Arbitration, mediation, and settlement negotiations likely postponed

The court does not control the scheduling of your private arbitration proceedings, mediation sessions, or settlement negotiations. However, in light of government and health safety official recommendations for social distancing and against in-person gatherings, all of the parties to your matter will likely want to reschedule any planned meetings. You, your attorney, your spouse or other counterparty, and their attorney should discuss an appropriate date for any planned or future sessions. Talk to your lawyer about whether you would want to conduct a mediation session or settlement negotiation via video conference or teleconference. If so, discuss the option with the other parties.

Trusted Advice and Representation from a New Jersey Divorce Attorney

If you’re in need of seasoned, effective, and compassionate legal help with child custody, alimony, or other family law matters in New Jersey, contact the Union offices of family law attorney John B. D’Alessandro at 908-964-0102.

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