By Rachel Beard
Chief Justice Cheri Beasley signed an Order on Thursday, April 2, 2020 that created additional measures to help the courts do their part to help combat Covid-19. Here is Chief Justice Beasley’s Order (hyperlink: https://www.nccourts.gov/assets/news-uploads/2%20April%202020%20-%207A-39%28b%29%282%29%20Order%20%28Final%29.pdf?UqRJH9wO2z3oEU4GW3Eg9rxRuFvTlixn).
Pursuant to Chief Justice Cheri Beasley’s order, all Superior and District court proceedings scheduled before June 1, 2020 must be continued unless the proceedings meet certain criteria. In the family law arena, the courts are still hearing domestic violence cases, emergency custody cases and temporary restraining orders.
Even though most of the family law courtrooms have closed, Chief Justice’s Beasley’s order does include directives which can help litigation move forward. For example, in North Carolina, a claim for post-separation support must be verified, which requires a party to swear under oath in front of a notary that the claims made are true to the litigant’s knowledge. Emergency Directive 5 allows litigants to affirm their pleadings rather than have them verified, so that litigants may file affidavits, complaints or motion without having to go meet a notary public.
The Chief Justice also changed how service can occur in North Carolina. If a party agrees in writing, he may be served by email instead of the mail. This is a significant change and one that should not be agreed to without thoughtful consideration. If you are involved in litigation but do not have any attorney, our attorneys are available to discuss these changes with you and what you should be doing about your case.
These changes are in place until May 1, 2020, but Chief Justice Beasley’s order recognizes that she may need to extend these directives until June 1, 2020.
There are alternatives to the courthouse, however. If you and your former partner want to get or keep things moving, there are options such as mediation or arbitration. Our office is offering mediation and arbitration through video conferences, and we’re still working hard every day for our clients. If you need to talk to an attorney about your family law issue, please contact us at 919-787-4040 or through our website, www.wakefamilylawgroup.com.