Contra Costa County COVID-19 Update · 14 May 2020
Highlights of the Latest for Contra Costa County Courthouse: (updated as of 5/14/2020)
* This information was obtained through an informal “Town Hall” meeting and is not part of any formal press release or amendment to the Emergency Local Rules. There has been no update to the Family Law Emergency Local rules since 4/27/20.
- Court Closure
- The Court will reopen to the public on May 26, 2020
- Upon reopening, strict social distancing and safety protocols will be in effect, including limiting the family law courthouse lobby to no more than six individuals at a time, waiting outside the courthouse on designated “X” spots, mandated temperature checks prior to entry into the courthouse, and masks.
- The court records department remains closed, due to an inability to comply with social distancing protocols. Copies of files may be requested via mail.
- Court Hearings
- Remote hearings via Zoom will be considered the preferred and normal practice, with the exception of domestic violence restraining order matters and contempt proceedings. The Court is planning on using Zoom through at least the end of the year. When trials re-commence, they will occur via Zoom. For parties who are unable or unwilling to use Zoom, appearances will occur via telephone.
- All trials in excess of a day scheduled through September 2020 have been vacated. The first day of trial has generally been converted into a Settlement Conference. Notices are in the process of being mailed.
- Only restraining order hearings will be expected to be in person.
- In general, all non-DCSS family law departments will schedule between 6 – 8 short cause hearings per day, three at 8:30 am and three at 10:00 am, with the exception of each department’s Double Pro Per Day (which will be one full day). The other two potential hearing spots are reserved for emergency ex parte hearings. The afternoons will be dedicated to Settlement Conferences, with staggered hearing times.
- Department 11, which was previously a mixed domestic violence and settlement conference department, is temporarily only hearing restraining order matters. Settlement Conferences previously scheduled with Department 11 are being rescheduled to the case’s regular department calendar.
- Department 52 (DCSS) is in the process of rescheduling all hearings postponed due to the court closure. All hearings currently scheduled for June or later will proceed forward via Zoom.
- Emergency hearings that did not occur due to the court closure will be the first priority.
- Cases previously assigned to Department 19 will be heard by either Judge Goode or Judge Craddick, who will jointly operate the currently vacant Department 25.
- All other family law departments continue to offer informal Case Management Conferences (CMC) if the matter is truly ready for a CMC.
- The Judgment review clerk is completely up to date, completing review of submitted Judgments within one business day of receipt. Thereafter, they are being sent to the judicial officers for review.
- All mediation appointments that were cancelled during the shut down have been or are in the process of being rescheduled.