The Texas Supreme Court issued an order on Friday, March 13, 2020 allowing courts across the state to extend deadlines, suspend hearings, allow electronic appearances in hearings that must be conducted, and allows the courts to “Take any other reasonable action to avoid exposing court proceedings to the threat of COVID-19.” Travis County issued an Emergency Order for all Travis County Civil and Family Courts on March 13, 2020. Travis County has suspended all in person non-emergency hearings until April 13, 2020. The order goes on to say that this includes “all jury trials, non-jury trials and all non-essential hearings in the family and civil courts. All non-emergency hearings currently scheduled for the next four weeks are hereby postponed and will need to be rescheduled to a later date through Court Administration.” Williamson County also issued and order on March 13, 2020 providing that essential proceedings will continue and anyone with a family law case set between March 16, 2020 – April 1, 2020 will receive specific information regarding the case from the Court Administrator.
So, what does this mean for you and your hearings? What if an emergency arises? This means that any hearing that is a non-emergency hearing such as a hearing on a writ, temporary restraining order, or protective order will be suspended and need to be scheduled, or rescheduled, for a date after the time periods listed for each county. If an emergency hearing needs to be set during the suspension, each county has a different procedure on how that may be accomplished. You will need to discuss your options with your attorney if a need for an emergency hearing arises.
What about possession? Several of the courts around the state have issued opinions or orders advising that possession should proceed under the originally published school calendar. This means if a school district issues an “extension” of Spring Break, that does not mean possession extends for the entire time school is out. Additionally, this means that Thursday periods of possession follow the originally published school calendar and should resume after the originally scheduled Spring Break.
How can we help? Vaught Law Firm is offering current clients and potential clients meetings by telephonic appointment and video conferencing (where accessible). Vaught Law Firm is committed to assisting those in need of advice from experienced attorneys and stand ready to assist even in this time of COVID-19 isolation. Call us today at 512-342-9980 to schedule your consultation with one of our experienced Austin divorce and family law attorneys today.