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Family Law Update on Coronavirus

Mom and Kids in QuarantineFor those involved in Family Law disputes, please note that the Michigan Supreme Court has issued an Order dated March 18, 2020, to address the coronavirus outbreak in accordance with Governor Whitmer’s recent orders restricting assembly of persons.

For most of you, the applicable paragraph is number 7. Please note that many of the Friend of the Court proceedings are also being adjourned by the courts until after April 3, 2020. 

The Order states that Trial Courts are ordered to limit access to courtrooms and other spaces to no more than 10 persons, including staff, and to practice social distancing and limit court activity to only essential functions, which include the following:

  1. Review and determine requests for ex parte relief in domestic relations proceedings necessary for the safety and well-being of a litigant and/or children under MCR 3.207.
  2. Safe delivery of newborn child (NB) proceedings under MCL 712 et seq.
  3. Waiver for parental consent (PW) proceedings under the Parental Rights Restoration Act, MCL 722.901, et seq.
  4. Juvenile delinquency proceedings:
    • Hearings required within 24 hours of a juvenile’s apprehension or detention pursuant to MCR 3.935 and MCR 3.944;
    • Arraignments for in-custody designated and adult court waiver proceedings pursuant to MCR 3.951 (designated) and MCR 3.950 (waiver, circuit court arraignment).
  5. Child protective proceedings:
    • Hearings required within 24 hours of taking a child into protective custody pursuant to MCR 3.965 and MCR 3.974;
    • Permanency planning hearings that are required pursuant to MCL 712A.19a.
  6. Friend of the court arraignments on bench warrants pursuant to MCR 3.221(B). An arrested individual must be promptly arraigned if the underlying contempt hearing cannot be held within 48 hours. In addition, Friend of the Court offices should set priorities to continue the following services:
    • Courts should continue to make staff available to record child support orders in MiCSES as long as there are unrecorded orders so the SDU can send out child support payments.
    • To the extent it is safely possible, courts should continue to make staff available to implement income withholding notices so payments can be deducted and paid automatically. To the extent it is not safely possible to make staff available for this purpose, most income withholding notices should be issued automatically when there is a New Hire Directory match.
    • To the extent it is safely possible, courts should continue to make staff available to implement national medical support notices to allow health care coverage to be implemented as quickly as possible. 
  7. All other family court matters, including trials, must be conducted remotely using two-way interactive video technology or other remote participation tools or they must be adjourned until after April 3, 2020. 
  8. Other emergency motions in the discretion of the court.

Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions regarding this Order from the Michigan Supreme Court or your case in particular:

Categories: Custody, Divorce

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Representing clients at all stages of litigation, John handles a wide range of complex commercial, family law, and insurance litigation matters. He also serves as the leader of the firm's Family Law Practice Area. 

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