Summit County Domestic Relations Court issued orders in response to the Coronavirus threat. The order addresses not only how the Court intends to manage their docket, but also how people subject to their jurisdiction should conduct themselves in this crisis.
Summit County Domestic Relations Court’s Order
THESE POLICIES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE DAILY. PLEASE CHECK THE COURT WEB SITE ON THE DAY OF YOUR HEARING TO VIEW THE CURRENT POLICIES. Summit County Domestic Relations Court, Temporary Policies in response to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) public health crisis. REVISED March 23, 2020 On March 9, 2020 Ohio Governor Mike DeWine issued Executive Order 2020-01D “Declaring a State of Emergency” in response to the growing COVID-19 public health crisis. On March 11, 2020 the World Health Organization officially declared COVID-19 to be a global “pandemic” requiring “urgent and aggressive action” to control the spread of the virus. Based upon these circumstances, Summit County Domestic Relations Court has developed a continuum of flexible responses in case the public health crisis escalates. The continuum of responses is intended to protect public health, to maintain essential court functions, and to continue to protect the rights of all individuals subject to the authority of the Court. The following changes in court policies and procedures are made effective March 19, 2020: 1) The Remember the Children Programs scheduled for March 21, and all programs in the month of April, 2020 are CANCELLED. 2) The Working Together Programs scheduled for March 26, April 9 and April 23 are CANCELLED. Parties scheduled for these program dates will be rescheduled for a subsequent date. 3) The Positive Solutions Program for the month of April is CANCELLED. 4) All hearings except Domestic Violence shall be conducted by telephone or remote video only at their currently scheduled times unless the parties are specifically directed otherwise by the Court. Call-in information is provided on the attached listing of telephone conference numbers. If there are exhibits which parties wish the court to consider at this hearing, those exhibits shall be submitted to the court and opposing party via e-mail or fax to the assigned magistrate prior to the hearing. 5) Domestic Violence ex-parte hearings will be conducted by the court in the day the case is filed. The Domestic Violence Evidentiary hearing will be set within legally required time frames. However, for the Domestic Violence Evidentiary hearing, due to public health concerns, only the parties and counsel may attend. No additional witnesses shall attend the initially scheduled evidentiary hearing. If testimony of anyone other than the parties is required, that testimony will be heard on a subsequent date to be assigned by the magistrate. 6) For any telephone hearings, the parties attending the hearing by telephone shall call the conference number for the assigned magistrate or judge at the scheduled time of the hearing. 7) For any hearings to be conducted by video conference, the court will provide a link by email to connect to the hearing. If you have not provided an email address to the court, please contact the court at 330-643-2368 to provide this information. 8) Any parties with scheduled hearings who are ill, or unable to attend the hearing in-person shall email the court to request either remote attendance via telephone or video or to request a continuance of the hearing. Those requests shall be emailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org with a copy sent to the opposing party or counsel. The assigned magistrate or judge will review the request and determine how to proceed. 9) Only counsel or parties on a case with business before the court shall enter the Domestic Relations Court building. The only exception to this policy is that Parties may be accompanied by advocates or necessary support persons as required. NO CHILDREN SHOULD BE BROUGHT INTO THE COURTHOUSE AT ANY TIME. 10) Scheduled mediations or meetings with Family Court Services Evaluators will be conducted via telephone or Skype. Parties on these appointments shall not attend in person unless specifically directed to by the assigned court personnel. Call-in instructions will be provided to the parties in advance of the appointment. 11) Meetings with Guardians ad Litem may be conducted via telephone or Skype at the discretion of the Guardian ad Litem. All home visits, travel, or third party in-person visits by Guardians ad Litem are suspended until at least May 4. The Guardian ad Litem will inform the parties and will provide contact information for any telephone or Skype meetings. 12) Any person who needs to review a report of a Family Court Services Evaluator or Guardian ad litem shall contact Family Court Services at 330-643-2355 to schedule a time to review the report. No person will be permitted to review the report without a scheduled appointment. 13) Any person who enters the Domestic Relations Court building and who appears to be ill, coughing, or sneezing, may, at the Court’s discretion, be asked to leave the building and reschedule their hearing. 14) Any person seeking a Domestic Violence Civil Protection Order who is ill and unable to come to the courthouse in person due to that illness shall contact the court at 330-643- 2368 to make alternative arrangements for that case to be filed. 15) Effective March 23, 2020 and until further notice, in order to minimize person to person contact, Petitions for Domestic Violence Civil Protection Orders and any Parenting for Proceeding Affidavits filed with those Petitions do not need to be notarized before filing. 16) For those parents looking for guidance as to the media’s wording of “THREE WEEK spring break”—our standard order and many parenting plans do not provide for mass emergency school closures. This is not a spring break that is on the school schedule that parents planned for and anticipated. The court considers this an emergency school closure, as if the schools were closed due to a tornado or a hurricane. Parents will have to work together, and accommodate each other’s situation as much as they are able. The spring break that was set by school districts is the only spring break that is subject to prior court order. If they cannot agree, (and their parenting plan does not address the situation) then they can resort to their school year schedule, with the parent dropping off in the morning being responsible for the childcare for the school day up until the time the other parent is to pick-up the child. This is not a time for rigid interpretations of parenting plans that have no provisions for unanticipated emergency situations. The current health crisis is a fluid situation and is subject to change as the situation dictates. The Court will post any updates and changes to the court website at www.drcourt.org/wp/covid19. A list of court contact phone numbers is attached for any questions about hearing dates, procedures, etc.