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New Jersey Court Operation during COVID-19

A young fair woman judge in protective mask works in her office.

The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc on nearly every aspect of our daily lives. We briefly discussed court closures in New Jersey in an earlier post. After an initial round of shut-in orders and business closures, some areas began to reopen, hoping that the worst was behind us. Unfortunately, many of these states and cities saw a corresponding spike in the number of novel coronavirus cases, igniting discussion for re-closure. Where does New Jersey stand? What is the current state of the New Jersey Court System, and what is the plan for the near future? We address the operation of New Jersey court proceedings below. Contact a knowledgeable Englewood family law attorney if you need help with a New Jersey family law matter.

Courts Closed for in-Person Proceedings

The facts on the ground are changing by the week, so it is important to stay updated if you have an anticipated or pending family law matter in a New Jersey Court. As things currently stand, there are no in-person Superior Court or Tax Court proceedings in the State of New Jersey. Divorce cases and other family law matters are heard in the Family Division of the Superior Court at the county court level. The Bergen County Superior Court, which governs Englewood, is closed for in-person proceedings.

There are limited exceptions for certain emergency matters as well as ongoing trials. Trials that were scheduled to take place this summer have likely been delayed by several months or put on hold indefinitely until the courts can safely reopen. If you have a true emergency or if you have an ongoing or upcoming trial, speak with your family law attorney to discuss how the court intends to handle your specific matter. The Administrative Office of the Court has not set an anticipated end date for the in-person closure.

Remote Proceedings

Despite the courthouse closure and limitations on in-person proceedings, the courts are still moving forward with new and existing matters. As much as possible, hearings, motions, conferences, and other proceedings will be handled by telephone or video conference. Motion filings and other document submissions, as well as payment of court fees, will be handled electronically or via traditional mail.

Discovery should continue, as should any settlement negotiations or mediation (which can also be conducted remotely), although the courts are likely to grant extensions on deadlines. The judge in your matter has likely issued an order dictating how the case will proceed, including upcoming hearings and other court proceedings. Talk to your family law attorney if you are unclear on how your case is proceeding.

Trusted Advice and Representation for Your New Jersey Family Law Matter

If you’re dealing with child custody, alimony, adoption, divorce, or other family law issues in New Jersey, reach out to the Englewood family law attorneys at Herbert & Weiss at 201-440-6300 for advice and assistance.

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