Weeks into this Covid-19 pandemic, and it still seems that things in our family law practices are changing daily. With social distancing and isolation, it’s hard to keep up with it all. So, during this pandemic, find the latest updates, notices, orders and family law resources here. And, please return often, as the list continues to grow.
Georgia Governor Brian P. Kemp Executive Orders
- May 12, 2020 – Executive Order – Reviving a Healthy Georgia – partial reopening of services, etc.
- April 30, 2020 – Executive Order – Renewal of Public Health State of Emergency through June 12, 2020.
- April 9, 2020 – Executive Order – Temporarily Allowing Remote Notarization and Attestation of documents using audio-visual communication technology or similar means of real-time video conferencing.
- April 8, 2020 – Executive Order – Renewal of Public Health State of Emergency. Public Health State of Emergency extended through May 13, 2020. Shelter-in-place mandate extended through April 30, 2020.
- April 3, 2020 – Executive Order expanding the definition of “Essential Services.” Child custody and visitation orders shall not be affected by the April 2, 2020 shelter in place executive order. Visitation shall be considered an essential activity.
- April 2, 2020 – Executive Order to Ensure a Safe & Healthy Georgia, the shelter-in-place mandate.
- March 31, 2020 – Executive Order authorizing real-time audio-visual technology for notarizing real estate documents. Together with the below March 27, 2020 Supreme Court Order, this executive order facilitates closings and transfers of properties pursuant to divorce decrees and settlement agreements.
- March 14, 2020 – Executive Order – Public Health State of Emergency
Supreme Court of Georgia
- May 11, 2020 – Second Order Extending Declaration of Statewide Judicial Emergency to June 12, 2020 at 11:59 p.m.
- May 4, 2020 – Chief Justice Harold D. Melton will extend the Declaration of Statewide Judicial Emergency to June 12, 2020 at 11:59 p.m.
- May 4, 2020 – Guidance on Extension of Deadlines and Time Limits
- May 4, 2020 – Draft Amendment to Uniform Superior Court Rule 9.1 released. The rule will authorize civil non-jury trials to be conducted via video conferencing. It will remain in effect for 180 days after the expiration of the Statewide Judicial Emergency (see above). The Supreme Court requests feedback on the proposed order to be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, May 6, 2020.
- May oral arguments will be held via video conferencing on May 19, 20 and 21, 2020, and live-streamed over the internet. No family law related cases are scheduled.
- For the first time in history, April oral arguments are being held via video conferencing during the week of April 20, 2020. Arguments are live-streamed over the internet, and are also archived, so you can return at any time to watch them. This month, the Court heard arguments in two family law related cases:
– April 21, 2020 – Innovative Images, LLC v. Summerville, et al., Case No. S19G1026, regarding arbitration clauses in attorney/contract contracts (reported in March 2019 Case Law Updates).
– April 22, 2020 – Hooper v. Hooper, Case No. S20A0449, which the Court of Appeals dismissed because the application to appeal was untimely filed (reported in the December 2018 Case Law Updates)
- April 10, 2020 – The Honorable Carla Wong McMillan appointed as Georgia Supreme Court Justice to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of the Honorable Robert Benham
- April 6, 2020 – Order Extending Declaration of Statewide Judicial Emergency The March 14, 2020 Order Declaring Statewide Judicial Emergency is extended until Wednesday, May 13, 2020, unless otherwise modified or extended.
- March 31, 2020 – Order clarifying and/or amending Uniform Juvenile Court Rules 12.1 and 12.2(e)(4) regarding proceedings by video-conferencing
- March 27, 2020 – Order clarifying and/or amending Uniform Superior Court Rules 9.1 and 9.2 regarding proceedings by video-conferencing
- March 27, 2020 – Guidance for Tolling Filing Deadlines
- March 27, 2020 – Order authorizing attorneys to participate in and supervise closings via video-conferencing. Together with the above March 31, 2020 Executive Order, this order facilitates closings and transfers of properties pursuant to divorce decrees and settlement agreements.
- March 14, 2020 – Order Declaring Statewide Judicial Emergency. Georgia courts shall remain open for essential functions only. This includes emergencies with immediate liberty or safety concerns, and domestic abuse temporary protective orders and restraining orders. All other non-essential functions shall not take place unless they can be conducted by video or teleconferencing. In addition, deadlines, including but not limited to those pertaining to discovery, service of pleadings, statutes of limitation and appellate filings, shall be suspended, tolled or extended.
Georgia Court of Appeals
- May 2020 Message in response to the Covid-19 outbreak
- May oral arguments will be held via Zoom on May 5, 20 and 28, 2020. One family law case is scheduled for May 5, 2020..
- April 10, 2020 – The Honorable Verda M. Colvin appointed as Georgia Court of Appeals Judge to fill the vacancy created by the appointment of the Honorable Carla Wong McMillan to the Georgia Supreme Court.
- April 10, 2020 – The Honorable John A. “Trea” Pipkin, III appointed as Georgia Court of Appeals Judge to fill the vacancy created by the passing of the Honorable Stephen S. Goss.
- April 2020 Message in response to the Covid-19 outbreak
- April oral arguments postponed to a later date to be announced.
County Superior Court Orders and Notices
Note: Only some counties are listed below. If your county is not listed, go to the county superior court website for updated court orders and notices.
Blue Ridge Judicial Circuit
- March 13, 2020 – Order Declaring Judicial Emergency
- March 20, 2020 – Notice of Clarification; Domestic Relations Custody Orders for School and Holiday Visitation – Regardless of the current school closings, parenting time and visitation shall continue to be governed by the previously published school calendar dates for holidays, breaks and summer vacations.
- March 18, 2020 – Memorandum regarding judicial emergency
- March 17, 2020 – Public Notice regarding limited access to the Cobb Superior Court Clerk’s Office.
- March 25, 2020 – Standing Order re Notice of Clarification for Cases Governed by the DeKalb County School Calendar, Domestic Relations Custody Orders for School and Holiday Visitation – Regardless of the current school closings, parenting time and visitation shall continue to be governed by the previously published school calendar dates for holidays, breaks and summer vacations.
- March 16, 2020 – Juvenile Court Interim Order Regarding Court-Ordered Parenting Time/Visitation in All Dependency Cases
- March 16, 2020 – Juvenile Court Order regarding judicial emergency
- March 24, 2020 – Standing Order Governing Ex-Parte Temporary Protective Orders – Ex parte orders shall be extended, tolled or otherwise continued until further order.
- March 23, 2020 – Notice of Clarification: Domestic Relations Custody Orders for School and Holiday Visitation – Regardless of the current school closings, parenting time and visitation shall continue to be governed by the previously published school calendar dates for holidays, breaks and summer vacations.
- March 30, 2020 – Order Extending Judicial Emergency
Other Family Law News, Updates and Resources
- State Bar of Georgia Family Law Section Recommended Protocol for Remote Notarization and Attestation of Documents in Georgia
- Parents with Disabilities, authored by M. Debra Gold and published in the State Bar of Georgia The Family Law Review
- Working from Home as a Family Law Attorney: Overcoming Challenges
- Seven Guidelines for Parents Who are Divorced/Separated and Sharing Custody of Children During the Covid-19 Pandemic issued by the Association of Family and Conciliatory Courts (AFCC) and the American Association of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML).
- 7 Tips for Family Law Practitioners in the Midst of the Covid-19 Pandemic, authored by Kathleen McNamara, PhD and Lisa Hall, LMFT.
- State Bar of Georgia Remote Notarization and Witnessing Suggested Practices and FAQs
- State Bar of Georgia Family Law Section 38th Annual Family Law Institute is cancelled. Plans are to reschedule the program for later this year.
- State Bar of Georgia 2020 Annual Meeting is cancelled. Plans are to hold some of the meetings and the incoming officer swearing-in ceremony virtually.
- Plans for the Barcelona/Georgia Exchange CLE and Networking Program in October 2020 are continuing, but registration is postponed until we have further information and certainty that the program will take place as planned. Thank you for your patience.
Please let me know of other updates and resources affecting our family law practices.