The COVID-19 crisis in Alabama has created an unprecedented situation where the State of Alabama courts are not holding in person hearings for almost a month and some Federal Courts are already holding hearings by phone. So what does that mean for the person who needs to file a legal matter?
Due to the COVID-19 crisis, our physical office locations are not staffed since all employees are working from home and answering all phone calls remotely. So if you call us, we can provide consultations by phone and if you decide to retain our lawyer you don’t have to come into the office. You can pay on our website, e-sign everything online, submit all documentation we need to us by email, and then we can file your case electronically. So, you can still get your case filed, but an actual hearing in front of the judge is what will be prolonged and could take a few months longer to get.
It also depends on the type of case you are filing. If it is a divorce or family law matter, then it depends on whether it is contested or uncontested. If the divorce or other family law matter is contested then we can be retained online and by phone and file your case, get the other party served, and do everything we normally would do remotely. However, the hearing will likely take a few months due to the court closures. If the matter is uncontested and everyone is in agreement, then when it is filed electronically the judge will sign your Order by agreement and there should be no hearings. So you can still get divorced if it’s uncontested while courthouses are closed. You can also still get post divorce modifications ordered, as long as they are by agreement, now as well. The court closures in Alabama State Courts only matter when it comes to matters that are contested for the most part, everything else is pretty much unchanged.
If your case is a bankruptcy, then the Federal Courts are holding hearings by phone. So you can pay us online, submit documents by email, and we can talk over phone and file it. Once filed, your hearing normally takes place about a month later, but now it will be a phone hearing.
As for consultations, our attorneys are no longer doing in person ones until the COVID-19 crisis is over. So for now, the attorneys are providing phone consultations only, which are at no costs and usually more convenient anyway. Then we send and receive documents by email or you can drop the off at our office for us to pickup, or you can schedule time to meet the secretary up there at a certain time to pay and drop off documents, you just can’t randomly come by and expect someone to be there until this crisis is over.
I hope this helps explain how we are handling clients while working remotely from home and how courts are working while the courthouse are closed. Please call us anytime. We are still open for business, just as long as it is remotely done, which can easily be performed by email and scheduling times to meet us or drop off things at an office. We hope you are all staying safe at home as much as possible, but if you need family law, probate, or bankruptcy services then we can still help.