For people who have court cases pending or their lives create issues during the COVID-19 crisis, it has been uncertain when they can get their date in court. This week the Chief Judge of Orange and Osceola has provided some clarity, and we want to pass that information on to our clients.
It is important to note that only essential workers are in the courthouse currently. Nearly every division is operational. For domestic violence as well as civil cases, hearings are being conducted on video or over the phone. In relation to court proceedings, they are working on two platforms: Cisco WebEx and Microsoft Teams for video conferencing, so clients will need this to participate.
In domestic divisions, the courts in both Orange and Osceola county are working to do things as uniformly as possible and make the procedure as consistent as they can. For a state, the circuits are created individually, and this leads to inconsistency across circuit lines, so this information might not be the same in other counties.
Below, you will find some questions that you might have answered:
Question: For clients that have a violation of probation and are currently incarcerated, how would their situation be handled?
Courts are conducting any hearings that they can by using video communications between the jailhouse and Osceola county.
Question: Has Orange and Osceola established protocol for emergency injunctions?
Emergency procedures are in place if there was a request for an injunction, but they depend on the nature of the matter and if it relates to orders that were entered because of the pandemic itself.
Question: What about the temporary modifications to child support?
The courts have stated that they have gone as far as they can go with the temporary pandemic order that has been issued. Concerning child support modifications, the judges feel that filing the motions will be helpful. To figure out what is going on, 15-minute case management conferences can be set. Therefore do not wait if you have this issue.
Question: How will civil and probate hearings be run?
Zoom hearings will be the answer. Usual meet and conference procedures will be coordinated. Traffic court hearings will be run remotely as well.
Question: Are domestic judges in Osceola county accepting email for final judgments for fully settled dissolution matters?
Not only are they accepting emails for this, but email is preferred so that no one is required to touch paper.
Question: How will evidentiary issues be handled?
Video hearings will be entertained for injunction hearings if lawyers on both sides agree. They must deliver evidence to the judge ahead of time.
Question: Can a clerk administer an oath remotely?
A new supreme court order allows for documents to be executed without a notary.
Question: Are there new procedures for entries of default for domestic relations issues?
Earlier fault hearings were canceled, but now there is a concerted effort to schedule them telephonically. If they do not call in, then the party will be in default.
Question: How will time-sharing work via video conferencing?
Supervised visitation will be done through video conferencing. The courts are working on getting a process instilled that will allow for supervised visits to take place over a video conference. If your clients have family ties, there is a process being set into motion that will allow for visitation to exist for 15 minutes, twice a week. The cost of these visits has gone down from $20 to $10.
Changes will continue to occur. We will keep up to date including checking on processes in our neighboring counties.
Is there a question you have that isn’t answered here?
Because we are an essential business, we are working and fully staffed. Please reach out to us with your question.