On March 27, 2020 Chief Justice Walters of the Oregon Supreme Court released amended guidelines for the Oregon court system in how to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic, link to the full text below. These amended guidelines expanded the family law matters the courts will hear from the mid-March guidelines, but there are still significant restrictions. Pertinent family law guidance excerpted and explained below.
Section 3 of the order lists “essential proceedings”. For Family law clients there are two categories of essential proceedings, category 2 and category 3. If you have a court appearance scheduled before June 1, 2020, unless your family law matter concerns one of the types of issues described as a Category 2 or Category 3 “essential proceeding”, your matter will be rescheduled to after June 1, 2020.
Category 2 -Proceedings shall be held on the date scheduled, unless postponed on motion of a party or by the Presiding Judge. Such proceedings may be scheduled to begin on a date before June 1, 2020. Such proceedings shall be conducted by remote means if reasonably feasible and permitted by law. This applies to family and protective order proceedings.
(i) Hearings on immediate danger motions;
(ii) Hearings on applications for orders of assistance to obtain custody of a child held in violation of a custody order;
(iii) Hearings on protective order applications, motions, and renewals (Family Abuse Prevention Act, Elderly Persons and Persons with Disabilities Abuse Prevention Act, Sexual Abuse Protection Orders, Extreme Risk Protection Orders, and stalking orders); and
(iv) Hearings on contested protective orders, including exceptional circumstances hearings;
Category 3- Proceedings shall be scheduled in accordance with the policy developed by the Presiding Judge of the county courthouse. The policy should take into account the local court’s ability to operate with minimal staffing, the safety of court staff and the public, and any constitutional or statutory mandates for timely hearings. If permitted by such policy, such proceedings may be scheduled to begin on a date before June 1, 2020. Such proceedings shall be conducted by remote means if reasonably feasible and permitted by law.
(i) Hearings on pre-judgment and post-judgment status quo matters;
(ii) Hearings on motions to enforce parenting time;
(iii) Any hearing the Presiding Judge deems necessary to hold in the interest of the public’s health; and
(iv) Family law facilitation and mediation;
To find the language from the Supreme Court, Category 2 proceedings are addressed on pages 4-5, Category 3 on page 6.