Texas has declared a state of emergency over coronavirus (COVID-19) and its potential impact in the state. If you are considering a divorce, or have a divorce case currently progressing through the Texas court system, you are probably wondering what happens next? Are the courts still open? What should you do?
Here are some information to help you safeguard yourself:
Texas Courts are still open.
If you want to file for divorce or you have a court date on the calendar, currently, courthouses throughout the state are open, with certain precautions in place.
According to the Texas Judicial Branch website:
Guidance for Court Proceedings Prior to June 1, 2020
Courts should use all reasonable efforts to conduct proceedings remotely.
- Courts may require all persons to participate remotely. With the introduction of the remote proceedings capability through Zoom, most essential and non-essential proceedings, except for jury trials, can be conducted remotely, and there are no limitations on these remote proceedings so long as reasonable notice and access is provided to the participants and the public.
- Non-essential in-person proceedings of any size must be delayed until June 1.
- Essential proceedings should occur in person only if holding the proceeding remotely is not possible or practicable.
- Examples of essential proceedings include: criminal magistration proceedings, CPS removal, and adversary hearings, temporary restraining orders/temporary injunctions, juvenile detention hearings, family violence and other protective orders, and specialty court proceedings. If you want to inquire whether other proceedings are essential, please consult with your Regional Presiding Judge or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- If essential proceedings must be held in person, the court must ensure that:
- No more than 10 persons are gathered in the courtroom or in areas around the courtroom (see exception below);
- Participants wear face coverings where possible; and
- Participants in the courtroom are separated consistent with social distancing and other precautions.
- EXCEPTION: Essential proceedings may occur in person in excess of the 10-person maximum if the law requires more than 10 persons for the proceedings, such as grand jury deliberations. Participants must be separated consistent with social distancing and should wear face coverings where possible. (Note: The Twelfth Emergency Order authorized grand jurors to participate in court proceedings remotely.)
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan is Monitoring the Situation
We are monitoring the situation and will update court access as needed.
Our suggestion if you need to go to court? Follow precautions for reducing exposure to COVID-19 in any public setting:
- Bring hand sanitizer and tissue with you;
- stand away from crowds if you need to wait (maintain a distance of 6 feet from any individual);
- wipe your phone down after use;
- wash your hands and don’t touch your face.
- If you are immuno-compromised or have an underlying health condition, let your attorney know.
- Depending on your situation, an alternate court date or setting may be in your best interest.
2. You can meet with your attorney via a web video call.
Whether you are contacting us for your free attorney consultation to learn about your rights, or you are a current client already working with one of our attorneys, we welcome you to schedule video web call appointments should you prefer to stay at home. We have secure video conferencing that is easy to use and reliable. Simply inform us when you can that you prefer a video meeting and we will take it from there.
To make the most of your call, be aware that you can take your video call from a friend or family member’s home if that is more discrete. We can help you set up in the best location and walk you through the set up.
If you would like to meet in person, we welcome you to come to our offices. We are open and you can rely on us to provide a clean environment with access to hand sanitizer, tissues, and restrooms/soap for hand washing. However, we are offering Virtual consultations with an attorney to help safeguard you in all areas of your life. You can get help today by calling us at 281-810-9760 or requesting a time online using the button below: