Since April 6, 2020, New York courts in the Capital Region (the Third Judicial District of NY) have been operating according to a “Virtual Courtroom Protocol” described in our previous “COVID 19 Alert,” posted on our website on April 21, 2020.
Following the Governor’s current plan to reopen the economy on a regional phased-in basis, limited in-person court operations have been restored in our region. Judges and designated staff have returned to courthouses and the filing of new lawsuits has been authorized in all regions and counties of the state covered by the Governor’s reopening orders. Importantly, the filing of new lawsuits and court matters previously classified as “nonessential” can now be resumed. These lawsuits will now be filed electronically in our region by represented parties using the New York State Electronic Filing System, known as NYSCEF. (Note that unrepresented litigants may continue to file, serve and be served papers through non-electronic means).
We have been advised by the state’s Unified Court System authorities that while judges and essential court personnel are physically working in courthouses, public density in court buildings will be limited by relying on technology to conduct as much court business as possible. Safety measures in court buildings include COVID screening, wearing of masks by all who enter courthouses, social distancing protocols, availability of personal protective equipment, strict cleaning and sanitizing standards, and the installation of plexiglass partitions in strategic courthouse locations. This is described as the “new normal,” requiring all of us to adapt as restrictions are gradually reduced to enable a safe return in phases to more complete in-person operations.
Please be assured that attorneys at O’Brien & Associates Law Firm P.C. are working full time and continue to provide divorce and family law services. If you currently require legal assistance with divorce and family law issues, or if you have a pending case with us that requires consultation, please contact our office. We are available and will always stand by you.
Joanne P. Monagan