The Chief Judge for the 4th Judicial District has issued Order indicating that the courthouse will be open to the public on a limited basis. The order is specific as to domestic relations cases, relative to the manner in which parties are to appear in Court. The Chief Judge directive indicates that counsel, and all unrepresented parties, shall contact the clerks of the individual divisions to determine whether hearings will appear by telephone, video conference or if the hearing will be rescheduled.
A review of the different procerus employed by the district court judges and domestic magistrates reveals that some of the judges will allow parties to request to appear in person, but even when that is allowed, the Courtrooms are to have no more than ten people present.
For the most part, hearings in domestic relations cases are being conducted by telephone, or by one of two video conference services (WebX or Zoom). While some parties attend these hone or video conferences from the attorney’s offices, many are attending from their own homes or locations.
The same goes for witnesses who are to testify, but the logistics of having the witness call in or more problematic, as the witnesses are generally not allowed to be present during the hearing prior to their testimony (they are “sequestered”), and thus the procedure for notifying witnesses of their time to call in or appear by video conferences is handled on a case by case basis.