The Courts Are Operating and Law Firms Are Open, Scroggins Law Group is Open for Business
Mark leads our program talking about the very incorrect assumption many make, which is that if the courthouses are closed to non-essential matters, the law firms are also closed. No, this is not the case, the law firms are open and so are the courts, with the limitation that some hearings are still being done virtually by using Zoom while others are done in open court.
This program is the latest in a bi-monthly video podcast series featuring news and updates in divorce and family law, answering the questions that clients frequently ask. Mark L. Scroggins is the principal and founding attorney at Scroggins Law Group, PLLC, with offices located in Frisco, Dallas, and Plano, Texas. Mark is Board-Certified in Family Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, and many of the other family lawyers and paralegals also have board certifications.
Listen to the podcast audio on its own:
Read the Scroggins Law Group, PLLC COVID-19 Update found on the red banner on the top of the website.
Mark continues by letting people know that in addition to the main office in Frisco, the new Dallas office in Energy Plaza is open and serving Park Cities families with divorce, child custody, and family law needs. Scroggins Law Group takes special measures to ensure the safety of clients, and the offices are well-sanitized and modified as possible to protect everyone. Of course, people may still meet via Zoom, wear masks, or do whatever else helps them feel safe as Scroggins Law Group is open for business.
The Courts Are Open, But What Does That Mean?
Mark talks about a recent meeting with the Collin County Bar Association, with the majority of the Collin County District Court Judges. The meeting focused on current directives and limitations of what the district courts are allowed to do and what is not yet permitted. The original plan was to revisit everything on June 1 to see if the restrictions need to remain or can go away so we can resume normal court functioning.
The new advisory opinion says that the courts are trying to open on June 1st, but they should only be used for appropriate matters and no in-person meetings unless you have to. So what does that mean? Can you do a regular bench trial instead of a jury trial? Remember that many people are involved in setting up a panel of jurors and that may exceed what is determined to be safe at the given moment due to COVID-19 health concerns and CDC guidelines.
Can you be forced to go to trial on a case via Zoom? Mark explains how one Collin County court is holding a summary trial using Zoom. Mark shares his opinion about trials, that is would be a violation of your constitutional rights to be forced to go to trial on a case via Zoom. That said, he further explains that some courts might try to force you to do that and you might need to file an appeal if that happens, but thus far he has not heard of that happening during COVID-19 with Scroggins Law Group open for business.
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You can agree to do a hearing via Zoom and Mark talks about recent experiences with trials on Zoom. It depends on the specific situation and what is at stake. There are a variety of options for you and your family and Mark and the team at Scroggins Law Group can create a strategy that works best for your goals and winning your case, as things change from county to county.
How Courts are Opening Varies From County to County
Denton County is having an open hearing in some cases while Collin and Dallas Counties are more closed down. There is not a continuity among the several counties in the DFW Metroplex, and things continue to change depending on who may be in charge and what the viewpoints may be from county to county.
Remember that enforcement hearings and protective order trials may be treated differently than issues regarding property. If you have an emergency involving children or your safety, rest assured that there is a way to get a remedy through the courts, whether in person or via Zoom. Mark and the team of attorneys and paralegals at Scroggins Law Group offices are going to be able to help you.
Please do not assume that you are stuck and cannot get help simply because the courts appear to be closed. New cases are still being filed, people are working on discovery documents and preparing for temporary orders hearings and more.
What Type of Questions and Issues are Arising When People are Calling Scroggins Law Group?
Mark says there are an influx of new divorces as well as modification and enforcement cases. Remember that everything with COVID-19 started when the kids were out on spring break. Luckily, the courts stepped in and gave guidance almost immediately, letting people know that the spring break extension did not mean that people could keep the kids, and the possession schedules must follow what is in the original plan and what the school calendar would be without the shutdowns.
Issues are coming up and people are taking things as they come up. Some situations like summer camps might be difficult to schedule during COVID-19, especially when parents might significantly disagree on what is appropriate and what is safe. If there is an issue with summer possession and you can anticipate problems, now is the time to approach a resolution.
COVID-19 Has People on Either Extreme or Somewhere on the Spectrum of Their Beliefs
When the courts have the power to compel people to appear in person, and some feel it is safe and others do not, it becomes a challenge for courts and elected officials who have to determine how to handle these situations, especially when there are people who are dying from the virus, whether few or many in people’s opinions. It’s a sensitive matter and Mark explains how that needs to be taken into consideration.
Mark reminds us that while everything is fluid right now, the courts are open and they can be utilized. For what your issues are, it just depends on how quickly you are going to get to court. He expects things to pick up rather rapidly, but it may take time. Scroggins Law Group can meet with you by phone, by Zoom, or in-person and they can let you know what is going on in your county and how it may affect your case. Mark and the Scroggins Law Group team at the offices in Frisco and Dallas are available to help you and your family now and whenever you may need their help. Scroggins Law Group offices are open for families in Dallas County, Collin County, and Denton County.
You may also listen to this program on our Blog Talk Radio podcast channel using this link: Scroggins Law Group is Open for Business During COVID-19 with Mark L. Scroggins.
Scroggins Law Group is Open for Business During COVID-19 and Can Help You Navigate Your Divorce, Child Custody, and Other Family Law Issues While Things are Fluid, Call (214) 469-3100.
*Mark L. Scroggins is *board-certified in family law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Unless otherwise noted, other attorneys are not *board-certified.
**Super Lawyers (a Thomson Reuters service, awarded to Mark Scroggins 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019)
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