How Coronavirus Could Impact Your Family Court Case In Michigan

How Coronavirus Could Impact Your Family Court Case in Michigan

As a Michigan resident, you are no doubt well aware of the Executive Order requiring citizens to “stay home, stay safe” until April 30th (and potentially longer, according to an announcement from Governor Gretchen Whitmer on April 22nd).  This order does allow for essential workers to continue fulfilling their duties, and to an extent, this includes employees of the court.  However, there are significant restrictions for what qualifies as “essential functions” of the court, and this necessarily limits the types of cases courts are allowed to hear in-person for the duration of the public health emergency.

What if you have a family court case scheduled during the stay-at-home order, or you’re trying to schedule a hearing?  What if a pending case requires you to file paperwork by a certain date and the deadline falls during the stay-at-home order?  Here are a few things you need to know about how the coronavirus crisis could impact your family court case in Michigan.

Essential Functions

While many types of hearings are being postponed to minimize potential exposure to COVID-19 for both essential court workers and non-court workers (lawyers, plaintiffs, defendants, juries, etc.), there are still certain family court hearings that will proceed, namely those that constitute some form of emergency.  These hearings include:

– Arraignments after arrest on a bench warrant issued for failure to pay child support

– Certain child protective hearings

– Contempt hearings

– Ex parte motions for emergency situations involving the safety of children or the filing party

– Juvenile delinquency hearings (where a minor is being put in custody or detention, or a minor is in custody and a judge must determine if he/she will be tried as an adult)

– Motion by a minor for waiver of parental consent to abortion

– Permanency planning hearings

– Personal protection order motions, or extensions for existing personal protection orders

– Safe delivery of a newborn child proceedings

– or other emergency hearings as determined by the court

If you have such a hearing scheduled, it may proceed, regardless of the Executive Order to stay at home.  All other types of hearings will be rescheduled after April 30th, or the end of the Executive Order, if it is extended.  If you’re unsure about your hearing, contact your court for more information.

Filing Paperwork

If you are facing legal filing deadlines, you should know, first and foremost, that days included in the state of emergency do not count toward your filing deadline, starting at (and including) March 10th, and extending to the current deadline of April 30th, although that date could change if there is an extension of the Executive Order.  That said, you may also want to look into filing online, or if your county doesn’t have an online filing option, filing by mail, email, or fax.  Contact the clerk’s office for instructions.

If you feel that you have a pressing reason to request a hearing or you’re dealing with critical issues related to the COVID-19 crisis where parenting time and child support are concerned, contact the qualified attorneys at The Gucciardo Law Firm at 248-723-5190 or online to schedule a consultation and learn more.


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