Status as of 5/18/2020
On May 6, 2020 the Los Angeles County Court launched a new tool for online dispute resolution (ODR) on the Modria platform to help parents resolve child custody disputes without going to court. This announcement states in part, “Effective May 18, an attorney, or a parent who is self-represented or represented by an attorney, may initiate a negotiation invitation through the ODR program. The other party will then receive an email invite to participate. The other parent or attorney then has the option to provide a response. Once the parents agree on a plan, the ODR tool will generate a Parenting Plan Agreement, which the parents may file with the court via fax, U.S. mail or drop box outside the courthouse. If accepted, the plan becomes the order of the court.” For those unable to resolve the issues using the ODR program, they will be required to attend a Family Court Services mediation appointment at a future date.
On May 13, 2020 the Los Angeles County Court presiding Judge announced that all courts would remain closed until June 10, 2020 except for time sensitive essential functions, however, for courthouses that have been closed, the clerks office will not reopen until June 15, 2020 and hearings for all courthouses will not resume until June 22, 2020. This means that if you have a hearing scheduled prior to June 22, 2020, it will be continued. For now, documents at Stanley Mosk are still able to be filed by mail, fax, or via the drop boxes located at court entrances.
Upon reopening, with limited exceptions, face coverings will need to be worn by all judicial officers, employees, and all court visitors. Social distancing will be enforced, hand sanitizer and wipes will be provided at all entrances and high traffic areas, and there will be enhanced disinfectant cleaning of all areas such as restrooms, elevators, courtrooms, clerks offices etc.
For the most up to date information about the Los Angeles Superior Court, please visit here.
Status as of 5/18/2020
On March 23, 2020, the Orange County Court issued an administrative order suspending all non-emergency family law matters through June 1, 2020. On April 6, 2020, the Orange County Court further issued orders saying in part that courts may require judicial proceedings and court operations be conducted remotely by video, audio, or telephone and that this order would remind in place 90 days after the Governor of California declares the state of emergency related to Covid-19 pandemic is lifted or until it is amended or repealed by the judicial council.
On May 12, 2020, the Orange County Court stated that the closure of the family law courts has caused a significant backlog. As such, with limited exceptions, the family law judicial officer will begin selecting cases they believe in their discretion will be most conductive to remote hearings using Teams or Webex which they feel can be adjudicated in 2 hours or less, assuming 1 hour per side, but subject to an extension of time within reason at the judicial officers discretion. Domestic violence cases may still be heard in person at the discretion of the judicial officers. Specific protocols for the submission of evidence will be sent to those whose cases have been selected for a remote hearing. Additionally, all cases set for a status conference after June 1, 2020 shall be heard remotely.
Any documents e-filed or received by mail with the Orange County Court shall remain pending and in the submitted status until at least June 2, 2020. This means that anything that is filed before June 2, 2020 will be shown as submitted but will not actually be filed with the court until after June 2, 2020.
In person supervised visitation has been suspended however, telephone or video supervised visitation is allowed as arranged by the existing supervised visitation provider. The court has also further defined spring break, summer break, and vacation as it relates to the changes in school schedules. The court also issued a ruling that Covid-19 is NOT a reason to deny visitation.
For the most up to date information about the Orange County Court, please visit here.
Status as of 5/18/2020
As of May 12, 2020 the closure of Ventura County Court has been extended through June 9, 2020. The court will announce at a later date if it will continue to operate with limited operations past June 9, 2020. All cases set to be heard before June 9, 2020 will be continued to a later date and notices will be sent out. The clerks office will also remain closed during this time. As of this time, no documents are able to be filed except for items related to essential emergency matters.
On May 13, 2020 the Ventura County Court announced that “until further notice, the Family Law Division of the court will accept wage assignments /income withholding orders (IWOs); stipulations and proposed orders for matters that are presently set for RFO or evidentiary hearing; MSAs / stipulated judgments for matter presently set for trial; off-calendar requests for any evidentiary RFO, evidentiary hearing or trial presently set on calendar.”
On May 18, 2020, the Ventura County Court amended their April 6, 2020 administrative order regarding guidelines for custody and visitation orders during Covid-19. This order states in part that the existence of the Covid-19 crisis is not a sufficient basis for modification of an existing custody and visitation plan without specific facts that warrant such a change and that Covid-19 is not a reason to deny parenting time, and modifications of exchange locations. It also has guidelines for parenting time in public places, supervised visitation by non-professionals and professionals, video visitation, travel for court ordered or stipulated visits, transparency and how these will change and return to the current custodial orders. It is important to note that the court also states in these guidelines that denying the other parent custodial time due to Covid-19 will be considered in any subsequent modifications of custody and visitation.
For the most up to date information about the Ventura County Court, please visit here.
Status as of 5/18/2020
The Santa Barbara County Court is closed at this time and no court hearings will be held in Santa Barbara, Santa Maria, or Lompoc from March 17, 2020 through May 23, 2020 except for a limited number of emergency services such as domestic violence restraining orders and ex parte guardianship requests where a minor’s safety is at risk. This means if your case was scheduled to be heard between March 17, 2020 and May 23, 2020, your case has been continued and you should receive a notice with the new date in the mail. Some services will be offered telephonically such as mediation and family law facilitator’s office appointments. This means that if you want to file a new case or any other documents, you can e-file them with the court but they will not be processed until after the court reopens. You can also file documents by mail and fax, but these will also have a significant delay due to the court closure.
If there are currently temporary orders in place, they will stay in place until your new hearing date. If your response or other pleadings were due during this closure period, the court is counting these days as court holidays and therefore you will be able to file your documents as soon as the court reopens.
The Santa Barbara County Court has issued guidelines for parenting schedules during the pandemic. These guidelines define spring and summer break as well as vacations and holidays. The closure of the schools shall not be considered vacation or holiday time, but should be treated as regular school time. The guidelines also state that Covid-19 alone is not a reason to deny parenting time. If parenting time is supposed to take place in public areas or if parenting time is supposed to be supervised, the parties should work collaboratively and conduct parenting time virtually with videoconferencing or by telephone. Parents may also need to change their exchange locations to comply with CDC guidelines and other state and local mandates. If parenting time is missed, the parties should work out a makeup schedule that promotes the wellbeing and safety of the children.
For the most up to date information about the Santa Barbara County Court, please visit here.
Status as of 5/18/2020
On April 10, 2020 the San Luis Obispo County Court issued an administrative order continuing all hearing scheduled through May 8, 2020 for up to 60 days. This means if your case was set to be heard any day between April 10, 2020 and May 8, 2020, your case has been continued and you will receive a notice of the new date in the mail.
On April 13, 2020 the San Luis Obispo County Court issued guidelines for parents regarding issues of travel, child custody, visitation, definitions of spring break, summer break, vacations/holidays, and supervised visitation.The court further stated that Covid-19 is not a reason to deny parenting time and that if parenting time is missed due to restrictions caused by Covid-19, the parties should work collaboratively to make up the lost parenting time.
On May 14, 2020 the San Luis Obispo County Court issued a notice about their modified operations. Requests for order that were pending on March 16, 2020 have been continued to a future date and beginning May 18, 2020 all Request for Order calendars will be conducted remotely via Court Call, Webex, or Zoom. If your case is set for a remote hearing, you must ensure that you have the proper equipment such as a computer with a camera and microphone, unless the court specifies otherwise. All attendees should dress and act as they would in the courtroom.
Family court services has resumed operations and previously scheduled mediations and other appointments have been rescheduled. Trials and evidentiary hearings through August 31, 2020 have been vacated and set for trial setting conferences which will be conducted remotely and notices will be sent out. New trial and hearing dates will be sent out on a rolling basis per applicable statutory priorities. The San Luis Obispo County Court is still accepting emergency protective orders, temporary restraining orders, and ex parte applications by e-filing or by submitting the documents via drop box at the San Luis Obispo courthouse.
Public access to the courthouses in Paso Robles and Grover Beach remain closed. San Luis Obispo courthouse is only open to those appearing for matters on calendar that day.
For the most up to date information about the San Luis Obispo Court, please visit here.
Status as of 5/18/2020
The Monterey County Court is closed to the public “except for essential parties who will be required to appear remotely via phone or video.” While criminal trials are currently set to resume hearings on June 1, 2020, there is no estimated date of when family law matters will resume being heard.
If you need to file a case, you can do so by e-filing, mailing in your documents, or utilizing the drop boxes at the courthouses. If you decide to file papers by mail or by using the drop boxes, there may be a significant delay due to the court operating with minimal staff as well as a waiting period to prevent possible contamination of court paperwork.
If you already had a court date, or mediation, cases are being continued and mediations rescheduled. There is no estimated date for when these will be set. The court is doing what they can to make sure things are done in a timely fashion and will contact you or your attorney with the new date.
For the most up to date information about the Monterey Court, please visit here.