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Category Archives: Family

The Supreme Court has amended the provisions of prior Orders governing COVID-19 remote court operations. Effective immediately, consent shall not be required for Family quasi-criminal (FO) matters to be conducted remotely. Courts shall continue to consider the legitimate needs of parties, attorneys, and others in determining whether an individual matter should be conducted in person rather than remotely. The Court’s November 19, 2020 Order is attached.

Questions about this notice may be directed to the Family Practice Division at (609) 815-2900 x55350.

/s/ Hon. Glenn A. Grant, J.A.D.

Acting Administrative Director of the Courts

Dated: November 19 , 2020

Notice – COVID-19 – Eliminating the Requirement of Consent in Order to Proceed Virtually with FO Cases – dated 11-19-20.pdf

Order – COVID-19 – Eliminating the Requirement of Consent in Order to Proceed Virtually with FO Cases – dated and effective 11-19-20.pdf

The New Jersey courts are continuing to provide comprehensive court services at all state court locations and the Administrative Office of the Courts.

As we have for the past eight months, courts at all levels are following a “remote first” approach to court proceedings and court events. Accordingly, matters that can be conducted remotely will continue to be done remotely, and certain matters that cannot be handled in a remote format will be conducted in person.

All State Courts Will Continue to Support Emergent and Critical Functions, Which May be Conducted in Person When Necessary

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The Supreme Court has immediately suspended new in-person jury trials and in-person grand jury sessions because of the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Court’s November 16, 2020 Order (attached) is effective immediately and until further order.

Consistent with the Court’s October 8, 2020 Ninth Omnibus Order, virtual grand juries have been established in all counties. Existing virtual panels will continue to meet in a virtual format, and in-person panels also may be converted to convene virtually subject to the Judiciary providing technology and training as necessary to support all jurors in participating in virtual sessions. The end-dates for excludable time each have been extended by 45 days beyond the dates set in the October 8, 2020 Ninth Omnibus Order.

The New Jersey Courts will continue to operate in a primarily remote format with limited numbers of judges and court employees on-site and very few court events handled in person.

Questions about this notice may be directed to the Office of the Administrative Director of the Courts at (609) 376-3000.

/s/ Hon. Glenn A. Grant, J.A.D.

Acting Administrative Director of the Courts

Dated: November 16, 2020

Notice – COVID-19 – Suspension of New In-Person Jury Trials and In-Person Grand Jury Sessions; Revised End Dates for Excludable Time – 11-16-20.pdf

Order – COVID-19 – Suspension of New In-Person Jury Trials and In-Person Grand Jury Sessions; Revised End Dates for Excludable Time – 11-16-20.pdf

This Notice is to advise that as of this week, cash payments for child support can be made at local courthouses during the days and hours listed in the schedule posted on the Judiciary’s website. The option to pay cash over the counter at the Finance Division provides a no-fee option for court users with child support obligations. Additional options for paying child support are available as described on the Department of Human Services webpage. Especially during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, timely and consistent child support payments provide critical support for children throughout New Jersey.

More information about child support and related court matters is posted on the Judiciary’s COVID-19 resource page.

/s/ Hon. Glenn A. Grant, J.A.D.

Acting Administrative Director of the Courts

Dated: October 15, 2020

NOTICE Cash Payments for Child Support – Limited Reopening of Vicinage Finance Windows.pdf

The Supreme Court has issued the attached Ninth Omnibus Order on Court Operations and Legal Practice during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. ***A copy of the Full Order is attached below for your convenience.***

This October 8, 2020 Ninth Omnibus Order continues certain adjustments necessitated during the COVID-19 period, including the prioritization of remote proceedings and permission for electronic signatures, remote or socially distanced depositions, and electronic service on the State of New Jersey. It also includes substantive changes designed to ensure that defendants detained without indictment promptly will have their cases presented to grand juries. To that end, the October 8, 2020 Ninth Omnibus Order includes the following new or updated provisions:

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The Supreme Court’s Post-Pandemic Plan (issued June 10, 2020) outlined in general terms the transition from Phase 1 (fully remote operations) to Phase 2 (incremental return of limited numbers of judges and court staff to Judiciary facilities). Based on current public health recommendations and COVID-19 trends, the New Jersey courts will be expanding the scope of on-site court events, including for new jury trials, but without transitioning fully to Phase 3 as previously anticipated. For lack of a better description, the courts are now moving to “Phase 2.5.” This notice provides additional guidance as to events that may under appropriate circumstances be conducted on-site even while our court system overall continues to follow a “remote first” model.

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The Supreme Court has issued its Eighth Omnibus Order on Court Operations and Legal Practice during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. A copy of the Order is attached.

This September 17, 2020 Eighth Omnibus Order continues certain adjustments necessitated during the COVID-19 period, including the prioritization of remote proceedings and permission for electronic signatures, remote or socially distanced depositions, and electronic service on the State of New Jersey. It also reinforces provisions of the Court’s September 17, 2020 Order on the first jury trials, including as to the additional option of conducting voir dire in a fully virtual format with the consent of the attorneys and parties and the approval of the trial judge.

The September 17, 2020 Eighth Omnibus Order includes the following new or updated provisions:

  • Grand Jury. Confirming that all counties are virtually selecting new grand jury panels, and providing that grand juries in all counties will be equipped and ready to convene in a virtual format on or before December 1, 2020;
  • Criminal. Continuing excludable time provisions through October 11, 2020; and
  • Civil. Relaxing Rule 4:64-8(b) during the term of the Federal Housing Administration’s foreclosure and eviction moratorium for borrowers with FHA-insured Single Family mortgages covered under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and HUD Agency Letter 2020-27, so as to provide that a plaintiff will not be required to file a new complaint to reinstate a foreclosure matter that has been dismissed twice for lack of prosecution.

Questions about this notice or the Court’s Eighth Omnibus Order may be directed to the Office of the Administrative Director of the Courts at (609) 376-3000.

/s/ Hon. Glenn A. Grant, J.A.D.

Acting Administrative Director of the Courts

Dated: September 17, 2020

NOTICE (FULL NOTICE) Eighth Omnibus Order on Court Operations and Legal Practice.pdf

 

The Supreme Court has provided additional guidance on the first new jury trials to resume since the mid-March suspension of trials resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. As detailed in the Court’s July 22, 2020 Order and appended Plan for Resuming Jury Trials, new jury trials will be conducted in a hybrid format involving primarily virtual selection followed by socially distanced in-person trials.

The Court’s attached September 17, 2020 Order emphasizes that the resumption of jury trials is necessary to protect the rights of criminal defendants, including more than 2,500 indicted defendants who are detained awaiting trial, and for litigants in more than 9,000 ready civil cases. As with all aspects of COVID-19 court operations, the New Jersey courts will resume hybrid jury trials in a manner that supports the health and safety of all court users.

The Court’s September 17, 2020 Order clarifies and supplements the provisions of the Court’s July 22, 2020 Order as follows:

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The New Jersey courts currently are conducting limited on-site court proceedings, with in-person socially distanced jury trials scheduled to begin in late September 2020. Consistent adherence to public health requirements remains critical to supporting the health and safety of all court users. At the same time, attorneys and clients must have appropriate methods to communicate with the judge and privately during in-person court proceedings. To that end, this notice provides a list of approved options for sidebar communications and confidential attorney-client communications during jury trials and other on-site proceedings. Additional options may be considered on a case-by-case basis, with court approval, taking into consideration facilities and individual participant needs (including language access services and ADA accommodations).

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As of this date we would like to update you on COVID-19 procedures and information regarding the partial reopening of the courthouse. Please note the following:

  • We are currently in Phase 2 of statewide reopening and, in accordance with the guidelines, 15% of the courthouse staff are in the courthouse buildings.
  • The courthouse is not currently open to the public for all proceedings. We will keep you informed of a projected opening date as we receive information.
  • Probation and drug court litigants are being seen and drug testing is being done by appointment.
  • Virtual Grand Jury continues.
  • Numerous virtual proceedings in Family, Civil, Chancery, and Criminal take place on a daily basis. We have received very favorable responses from attorneys who have commented on the efficiency of these proceedings.
  • Criminal trials and Civil trials will start on a very limited basis at the end of September.
  • Municipal court is working well and efficiently using virtual platforms.
  • There is no start date for Phase 3 at this time, wherein up to 50% of staff will be allowed in the courthouse building.

There have been major safety and health measures taken with respect to the reopening:

  • When entering the courthouse building there are thermal scanners in place. If you have a temperature of 100.4 or higher, you will NOT be permitted to enter the building.
  • Signage is placed throughout the courthouse with instructions on social distancing and wearing a mask in all public areas. Please bring your mask if you plan on coming to the courts.
  • Touchless hand sanitizer units have been placed in all hallways for public use.
  • Public intake areas are having plexiglass barriers installed.
  • Efforts are underway by the county to change all the bathroom faucets and toilets “no touch” systems.
  • Disinfectant wipe downs of all touch areas i.e. doorknobs, elevator buttons etc. are being done nightly by the county.
  • Social distancing floor stickers are being placed on the floor at all entrances and customer service areas to facilitate social distancing.

We will continue to provide you with updates in the future. I wish to thank your President, Joseph Maurice and your Executive Executive Director, Frank O’Marra, for their efforts to bring updated information to the Bergen Bar members.

NOTICE: Bergen County Courthouse COVID-19 Protocols.pdf

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