PIMA COUNTY, Ariz. — The Family Law Divison of Pima County Superior Court has put in new measures making sure family court is still accessible for people who need it during the pandemic.
A court official says about 99 percent of its work is happening outside of the courtroom including; hearings and conferences, which are able to be done remotely, and other business is done over the phone and email.
The court's Family Law Presiding Judge Greg Sakall said "There is virtually nothing people have to come down here for. They can file their documents through the mail. If they want to come down there is a drop box outside the courthouse, where they can drop their paperwork. In terms of hearings; they can appear remotely. We are however open"
Below are new measures, new technological innovations to help parents, couples, and individuals during this time:
- A fully electronic application process for protective orders – parties can apply online and participate in their court hearing telephonically.
- Specifically developed guidelines [sc.pima.gov] to help parents who disagree about parenting time during the pandemic.
- Ongoing processing of initial divorce filings, requests for changes in parenting time, and appeals for modification of financial obligations, including child support & alimony. (Because support modifications cannot be backdated, adjustment requests should be filed with the court as soon as a problem is identified.)
- Resumption of family law trials and evidentiary hearings using a secure, reliable video link platform.
- Appointments with volunteer attorneys who can provide early, free, and impartial case evaluations via telephone or video.
- Easy and expanded online access to frequently used family law forms.
- Online parent education classes, and telephonic mediation services.
The judge says the court is safe to enter if people need to.
Masks and temperature checks are required and plexiglas barriers have been installed.