WHAT IF WE TOLD YOU THAT YOU COULD GET A DIVORCE
WITHOUT EVER LEAVING YOUR LIVING ROOM?
YES, IT CAN BE DONE.
Last Friday we received notice that family law cases can continue to move along through the Court despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. McHenry County family law judges outlined a procedure for requesting remote hearings on contested issues. Previously, only uncontested matters could proceed fairly easily. These remote hearings will take place via several different electronic platforms, including Zoom video meetings and Court Call conference calls.
If the parties agree to a remote hearing, they simply need to request one via email to the Court Administration Department. If the parties do not agree to a remote hearing, the party who wants it (the moving party) must file a motion with the Court requesting it. After the motion for a remote hearing is filed, the other party has three days to file an objection to the motion. Then, the moving party has three days after that to file a reply to the other party’s objection. This means that it can take about a week before a judge weighs in on a motion for a remote hearing.
The judge then decides whether to grant or deny the request for a remote hearing, while taking into account whether it was an agreed-upon request or a contested motion. Judges will begin granting and scheduling remote hearings, prioritizing those that have the highest need for a speedy resolution and that are best-suited for a remote hearing.
Once a motion is granted, the parties’ attorneys must conference before the scheduled hearing to streamline it as much as possible. This includes the same process used for in-person hearings, such as creating lists of witnesses and exhibits. It also includes providing updated financial affidavits and Illinois guideline calculations. Remote hearings, however, differ from normal, in-court hearings, in that that everything is emailed to the judge and the parties in advance of the remote hearing.
This is great news for McHenry County families. We can continue to assist you with your legal matters expeditiously when necessary, while simultaneously ensuring you and your family stay healthy by avoiding exposure to COVID-19 in the Courthouse.