CLIENT ALERT: Update Regarding Filing Options and Hearings in Local Family Courts

By , Published On: May 12, 2020

D.C. Superior Court

As of April 27, 2020, new child custody and divorce matters (including uncontested divorces) can be filed via the D.C. Superior Court’s online case filing system. However, many of these new matters will not be scheduled for hearings until well after the Family Court Division increases its operations, which is currently not set to occur until May 15, 2020.  However, some uncontested divorces, and hearings scheduled prior to the court closure, are being converted to remote hearings.

Montgomery County Circuit Court 

As of May 4, 2020, the Circuit Court for Montgomery County is conducting some uncontested divorce hearings remotely.  These hearings are set for 15 minutes each and are conducted with audio-only conferencing technology. Uncontested divorce hearings that were previously scheduled in May or June (before the court closure was announced), are being held on the day originally scheduled.

Apart from these uncontested divorces, and while the Montgomery County Circuit Court continues to accept new filings via a physical drop box and regular mail (as well as very limited discovery filings in family law matters via a Virtual Drop Box), hearings on family law matters continue to be limited to emergencies only.

Northern Virginia Courts

Northern Virginia courts, including courts in Arlington, Fairfax and Alexandria counties, are still accepting and processing new contested and uncontested divorce Complaints and Petitions for Custody and Visitation. However, obtaining hearings before a judge in these counties is somewhat delayed and subject to a liberal continuance policy. In Fairfax county, remote hearings may be conducted if all parties and counsel agree beforehand.

Additionally, pursuant to the Judicial Emergency Order issued on May 6, 2020, some Virginia courts are now permitted to expand their ability to conduct in-person hearings so long as safety precautions and prevention guidelines are followed.


Questions: If you have questions about this client alert or other matters, please contact Elizabeth A. Selmo (eselmo@ftlf.com) and Cierra Vaughn (cvaughn@ftlf.com) or call (202) 466-8960.