Covid-19: Family Law during a Pandemic

Posted by Tentinger Law Firm

 

As everyone is now aware, we are in the midst of a pandemic and it is impacting access to the courts for family law clients. Minnesota Chief Justice Lorie S. Gildea issued a statewide order, effective March 16, 2020 for all Minnesota courts. Under this order, all court cases are categorized as “super high priority,” “high priority,” “medium priority,” or “low priority.” A Limited Court Service Case Priorities List has been created and is posted on mncourts.gov showing the level of priority for each case type. You can view it here.

Super High Priority and High Priority Cases

Cases deemed to be “super high priority” and “high priority” will proceed as normal, including the scheduling of new jury trials. The order provides that courts should also explore the use of ITV/remote technology to conduct these hearings. It also eases the restrictions on the use of these technologies currently in court rules. In the area of family law, only emergency motions are considered high priority. This requires a need for quick action and the chance of irreparable harm if not dealt with in a timely matter by the courts.

Medium Priority and Low Priority Cases

Cases deemed to be “medium priority” or “low priority,” are suspended for 14 days. Exceptions are court cases in which jury trials are currently underway or cases where a speedy trial has been demanded. None of those exceptions apply to family law, so every non-emergency family law matter is impacted. However, while the court proceeding will not go forward for 14 days, family law cases can still be filed. In addition, because there may be delays for hearings even after the restrictions are lifted, it is a good idea to still file family law cases in a timely manner, so you will have priority going forward.

Whether a family law matter is an emergency is very fact specific, so it is important to speak with an experienced family law attorney. To discuss your situation with an attorney experienced with family law issues and emergency motions, contact Tentinger Law Firm using the quick contact form below or call 952-953-3330.