Access to Family Court
COVID-19 has impacted all aspects of our daily lives, even our court systems. On March 16, 2020, the Chief Justice of the Hawaii Supreme Court made his first order limiting in-person appearances and postponing all divorce and paternity hearings until after April 30, 2020. Only hearings on extreme matters, such as Temporary Restraining Orders, would be considered, needing approval in advance by a judge.
By a further recent order, some contested hearings may begin if tools such as videoconferencing and telephone appearances can be used. However, there is no certainty on when this might start, how it might take place and what hearings might qualify.
So what does that mean for you and your access to the Family Court?
The Family Court remains open for some basic services in an effort to resolve matters that are not disputed. These services include starting new divorce and paternity cases, filing motions and reviewing agreements such as Stipulations and Divorce Decrees.
Please keep in mind that in-person filing has been suspended for the time being and the physical Family Court buildings are closed to the general public unless you have a hearing date. The court is currently allowing attorneys to submit documents via email. You are also able to visit the Family Court’s website to access any of the forms needed to complete your own family law case (Divorce, Paternity, Child Support, Civil Union, Temporary Restraining Order, Adoption, Guardianship).
If you have any questions regarding submitting documents, beginning a family law case, or on how the COVID-19 affects your legal issues, take the next step and call (808) 539-1100 or email Family@HawaiiLegal.com so we can provide you with the personal attention you need to resolve your legal issues.