I wanted to give everyone an official update as to the plan in Wayne County.  From now until the foreseeable future all filings will remain electronic.

Personal Protection Petitions requests can be found at www.3rdcc.org/divisions/family-domestic/personal-protection-order-filing-instructions.

All emergency and nonemergency filing instructions can be found at www.3rdcc.org/divisions/family-domestic.

Emergency Judges are as follows:

It is best to email their JA’s with any emergency questions.  Please do not call or email unless necessary.

AS OF MAY 11, 2020 likely thru the end of the year, if not forever, the Family Division is re-opening for REMOTE ZOOM HEARINGS ONLY.  Electronic Filings will continue.

All Hearings will proceed day forward.  We are backfilling all missed cases as we can but want to make sure that current cases continue, close to already scheduled Hearing dates.  You can expect that if you had a scheduled Hearing, that you will receive an electronic notice advising you of your new Zoom Hearing Date and Time.  The first week May 11, 2020, we are starting slowly with 2 Hearings per hour, scheduled between 9am-2pm, Monday-Thursday.  Week two, May 18, 2020, 3 Hearings will be scheduled per hour, scheduled between 9am-2pm, Monday-Thursday.  Week three, May 26, 2020 and thereafter, 4 Hearings per hour, scheduled between 9am-2pm, Monday-Thursday.  On week 3, Evidentiary Hearings and Trials begin to be scheduled at 2:00 p.m. M-Th.  The Judges will be able to use their late afternoons and Fridays to reschedule other matters and/or conduct Hearings or Trials.  We are backfilling the older cases as time slots allow.  If you haven’t received an electronic notice advising you of your rescheduled hearing within 30 days of May 11, 2020, contact the Judge’s Courtroom.

All Hearings are being rescheduled electronically and notices will come to your email.  Please be sure to share notices with your clients and opposing clients to cut down on rescheduling issues.  Your clients should all be enrolling their email addresses to ensure they are getting notices .  All pleadings for scheduled hearings should be sent to the electronic filing emails, to properly file all pleadings first with the Clerk’s office, with a copy sent to NEW JUDGES EMAIL BOXES that are being set up for this purpose.  Make sure you have properly filed your pleadings first with the Clerk’s office, before sending any copies to the NEW JUDGES EMAILS. Those email addresses will be found next to the Judges Virtual Courtrooms.

ALL HEARINGS WILL BE DONE VIA ZOOM.  ALL JUDGES VIRTUAL COURTROOMS CAN BE FOUND AT 3RDCC.ORD/ZOOM.  You will enter the assigned Judge’s courtroom and remain in the waiting room until your case is called.  It is essential that you and your clients are on the line and ready to go at your reserved time slot, with the Courtroom having received all necessary pleadings at least one week ahead of time, or your Hearing be rescheduled.

Please be advised that a DIVISIONAL ORDER is going to be signed directing all attorneys/litigants to proceed with ZOOM MEDIATIONS until further Order.  No attorney or litigant should expect that in-person Mediations will take place for the safety of all concerned.  If your Mediator offers it, so be it, but Mediation is to continue if the only option is via Zoom.  Further, all missed Evidentiary Hearings/Trials are strongly encouraged to Mediate and/or Arbitrate their missed proceedings and submit Stipulated Orders through electronic filing, as it not likely you will have an actual EH or Trial from those missed months in the near future, as we are proceeding day forward.

With regards to Friend of the Court operations and hearings, I do not have any definitive answers as this time as to when operations will commence as we mainly have paper processes in place and it is difficult to bring all of those employees back to the workplace in a safe manor.  It is likely that parenting time hearings, to be conducted by Judge Mary Beth Kelly, will come back on line via zoom the week of May 11, 2020 as well.  I am working on that process now.  More to come on Friend of the Court operations in Wayne County as we develop a plan.

Lastly, having served as the Emergency Judge during this situation, I was astounded to receive so many ex-parte requests lacking required ex-parte language and necessary statutory provisions like Hague and Domicile provisions from seasoned attorneys.  Further, while it will be appropriate to submit electronic signature of your clients, if it not appropriate for the attorney to sign a document on behalf of their client.  PDF has file and sign options that need to be utilized.  Please make sure submissions are appropriate.

I hope this answers most of your questions.  Please continue to review the Court’s website at 3rdcc.org for up-to-date information.  I hope and pray that you and your families remain healthy.  I thank you for your patience and understanding as we struggle through these difficult times creating electronic processes for things on very short notice and as always, thank you for doing God’s work.

Best regards,

Kathleen M. McCarthy
Presiding Judge-Family Division
Wayne County Circuit Court
1813 CAYMC, Detroit, MI  48226