Many public agencies are taking innovative steps to provide their services in accordance with current state and federal guidelines aimed at preventing the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). As courtrooms around the country have temporarily closed their doors or severely limited the number of active cases they are handling, some counties have discussed the option of using video conferencing to conduct certain court hearings. As of April 14, 2020, a Domestic Relations court in Medina County received a grant through the Ohio Supreme Court to implement technological updates that are necessary to facilitate virtual hearings.
External Pressures Compelled Judge to Change Practices
As courtrooms across the country announced their temporary closures in late March and early April, two attorneys accused a Domestic Relations court judge in Medina County, Mary Kovack, of continuing to hold “unnecessary” hearings and dragging out court motions. These two attorneys, David McArtor and Adam Thurman, petitioned Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor to compel Kovack to comply with the revised COVID-19 guidelines implemented by the high court in March. As a result, Kovak announced that she is activating a computer system so that court hearings can occur via video conference instead of in-person.
Protecting the Safety of Ohio Residents
Proponents of moving the hearing process to a video conference system say that these efforts will limit the spread of the virus and prevent people from exposing themselves unnecessarily to COVID-19. While most of the domestic relations hearings should translate smoothly to a virtual medium, the court intends to still open its doors to those who need emergency legal attention, such as those trapped in a domestic violence situation. By transferring nearly all in-person court hearings to a video conferencing system, Ohio residents can continue to comply with social distance practices that are currently encouraged by local, state, and federal guidelines.
Help When You Need It
Struggling with a domestic relations matter can be stressful, but the current pandemic is likely making things even more complicated and overwhelming. That’s why the dedicated family law attorneys at Garretson & Holcomb, LLC are committed to helping you receive the support and resources you need in order to successfully resolve your legal issue. Call (513) 863-6600 today to get started with a knowledgeable and compassionate attorney.