Virtual or In-Person Court for my Connecticut Divorce?

On May 27, 2022, the Connecticut Judicial Branch issued general guidelines for the use of remote proceedings Post-Covid.  The general guidelines are subject to the discretion of the local presiding Judge assigned to a particular matter to proceed differently in individual cases.

The following types of matters are likely to be conducted remotely:

  1. Judicial pretrials;
  2. Status conferences, whether on- or off-the-record;
  3. Status review/scheduling hearings;
  4. Periodic reports from guardians ad litem and attorneys for the minor child;
  5. Reports from Family Services (unless part of a longer proceeding held in person);
  6. Other brief, non-evidentiary matters.

The following types of matters are likely to be conducted in person:

  1. Trials;
  2. Other evidentiary hearings;
  3. Resolution Plan Dates;
  4. Case Dates;
  5. Matters on larger dockets with multiple cases scheduled for the same time, where it is not feasible to conduct them all remotely or to mix remote and in-person matters.

Matters usually expected to be conducted in person may nevertheless be conducted remotely, at the discretion of the Judge, for good cause, including but not limited to:

  1. Out-of-state participant;
  2. Participant with a medical condition making a court appearance difficult or unwise;
  3. Incarcerated participant;
  4. Participant protected by a restraining order or protective order who requests remote testimony;
  5. Hearing of short duration that may be conducted more efficiently by remote means; provided that in the case of a motion for contempt, the Court should consider whether holding the hearing remotely may affect the Court’s ability to effectuate relief or impose appropriate sanctions in the event of a finding of contempt;
  6. The Court’s determination, either at the parties’ request or upon its own review, that a remote hearing is feasible and the most efficient way to proceed.

In addition to the above, the Regional Family Trial Docket will determine on a case-by-case basis, in consultation with counsel, which method will be used in each matter based on the preferences of counsel, the relative difficulty for witnesses, etc.

Broder Orland Murray & DeMattie LLC is a Westport and Greenwich divorce and family law firm.  The Connecticut Judicial Branch is working on expanding its courtroom “Remote Justice” functions, and we continue to adjust our practices to continue serving our clients.