In the beginning of 2020 when the pandemic was starting to shut down businesses the judicial court system soon realized that it too was going to have to make adjustments in how it conducted affairs. Most superior court judges paused in court proceedings in order to devise ways to allow parties to resolve legal issues without posing a risk to public safety. Court proceedings were traditionally thought of as in person matters. However, by the summer of 2020 several jurisdictions began holding certain types of hearings virtually via computer programs such as Webex or Zoom. Essentially, these programs allow users to set up a virtual meeting, gives them the control of the audio and allows the organizer to create breakout virtual rooms if needed. Throughout 2020 and 2021, as judges became more sophisticated in the usage of these programs, the types of hearings that were being held virtually expanded as well.
Today, two years after the onset of shutdowns due to the pandemic, virtual hearings are used in family law and divorce proceedings to decide everything from custody, final hearings for divorce, legitimation hearings, contempt hearings and mediation. The important thing to remember is that all judges who hold virtual hearings expect the participants to conduct themselves in the same manner as they would in the courtroom. To that end, there are some suggestions virtual hearing participants should do to ensure the best experience possible:
- Confirm that you have received the correct link to the virtual hearing
- This seems simple enough. Typically, the notice of hearings come with the link included, either within the email or the actual notice document itself.
- Be sure to check the link to ensure that it has the correct date and time of your hearing. Additionally, make a note of the password within the link if one is provided.
- Test out your internet connection prior to your hearing.
- Log onto to the virtual hearing when you are at a stable location. Most court administrators will insist that you are not driving or riding in a moving vehicle when court is in session. It is best to prepare to be in a comfortable location with sufficient lighting.
- If you have exhibits be sure that you or your attorney have provided them to the court ahead of time if possible. The virtual platforms have a feature that allow you to share a portion of your screen with the court. However, it is often best to provide the court with a list of the documents and or exhibits that you plan on presenting.
Some courtrooms have resumed in person hearing for certain cases. However, a number of jurisdictions throughout the State of Georgia have indicated that they plan on continuing to utilize virtual hearings when feasible. For many of our clients virtual hearings are a convenient way to appear before the court to resolve their legal matter. Additionally, they can also expedite the time that it takes a matter to appear before the judge. Regardless of your legal matter, it is important to seek the advice of an experienced Atlanta Divorce Attorney. The Faucette Law Firm, LLC has over 13 years of experience specializing in divorce and family law related matters. We assist clients with contested and uncontested divorce, child custody, child visitation, legitimation, alimony and modifications. Contact our law office today for a consultation.