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Can I Get Divorced in DuPage County During the COVID-19 Pandemic?

Posted on in Divorce

Wheaton divorce lawyerFor many Americans, March was the last month that had any sort of normalcy to it. As the coronavirus pandemic swept across the globe, it hit the United States especially hard, with the number of confirmed cases topping five million in recent days. The pandemic is responsible for closing thousands of non-essential businesses and forcing many others to conduct business remotely or work from home. This was true even for government operations, such as business conducted at the DuPage County courthouse. For those who are in the middle of the divorce process or are thinking about beginning the process of getting a divorce, the biggest question running through your mind is likely, “Is a divorce even possible at this time?”

Changes to Court Procedures

Thankfully, the answer to that question is yes, it is still possible to get a divorce during the pandemic, though it may be a little different from what you thought your divorce would be like. Beginning on June 8, the DuPage County courthouse reopened for normal business hours, but with changed procedures to help implement social distancing guidelines and other policies to protect court staff, judges, attorneys, and visitors. These guidelines include:

  • Reducing the number of in-person court calls conducted on a given day and requiring some court calls to be conducted through remote means to reduce the number of people present inside of the courthouse;

  • Waiving court appearances by those who are represented by an attorney or public defender;

  • Taking the temperature of everyone entering the courthouse and denying entry to those with a fever;

  • Requiring everyone to wear a face-covering or mask while they are inside the courthouse;

  • Seating and waiting areas must comply with social distancing guidelines; and

  • Using other methods, such as increased cleaning and sanitization of the courthouse facilities, and installing hand sanitizer and plexiglass shields where necessary to maintain cleanliness.

Virtual Court Proceedings

One of the biggest changes to domestic relations court proceedings is the fact that the majority of these cases will now be conducted through remote means only. Currently, there is only one courtroom that is open for in-person domestic relations cases, the appropriateness of which is determined by the presiding judge and is likely to only be used for serious cases involving situations like domestic violence or abuse. For most divorce cases, you will conduct your meetings and trials through the use of technology like Zoom, a video conferencing platform.

According to the DuPage County Bar Association, most types of court calls will still be conducted through the use of Zoom only. These include pretrial conferences, hearings, trials, and prove-ups; however, the judge can make the decision that a case has exigent circumstances and move the call to an in-person court call.

Discuss Your Case With Our Wheaton, IL Divorce Lawyer

Getting a divorce is stressful for anybody, no matter when you decide to do it. With everything that is currently taking place in the world, getting a divorce can seem overwhelming, but at the Goostree Law Group, we will work with you to ensure your divorce is given the attention it deserves. There is much uncertainty in the world these days, but your divorce attorney is someone that you can rely on. To schedule a free consultation with one of our knowledgeable DuPage County divorce attorneys, call our office today at 630-364-4046.

 

Sources:

https://www.dcba.org/news/493899/326-Updated-Current-Orders-and-Courthouse-Procedures.htm

https://courts.illinois.gov/Administrative/covid/062620-18Circ_AO.pdf

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