In this time of constant change and adaptation, being informed helps. As I personally experience the challenges of updating clients and providing advice on the next steps, I feel it is important to share resource information hence this article.
One of the biggest impacts of COVID 19, in family law matters, is the suspension of Court hearings. Many people have waited weeks perhaps months for a Judge to hear their case….now everything is being cancelled as part of COVID 19 precautions. If you have an upcoming Court appearance, you need to check on the status of the hearing. Is this proceeding? If not, what is the next step?
PROVINCIAL COURT FAMILY MATTERS: GET UPDATED
If you have a family law matter in the Provincial Court of Alberta (Edmonton Law Courts Building), you can check out the announcements section on the Alberta Courts website where announcements are posted. Remember the information contained on the website may not be current.
So, I would suggest calling the Provincial Court Clerk’s Office at (780) 427-2743. You will need to provide your docket number (Court file number) and/or your name. This way the Court Clerk can locate your matter on their computer system.
If you have a family law matter in the Provincial Court but not in Edmonton, you can obtain a telephone number using this link. Then just click on the location closest to where you live. The contact information for that Courthouse will appear.
COURT OF QUEEN’S BENCH FAMILY MATTERS: GET UPDATED
If you have a family law matter in the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta (Edmonton Law Courts Building), you can check the announcements section of the Alberta Courts website. Remember this information may be dated as current information may not, yet, be posted. The link contains the announcements pertaining to the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta.
I suggest calling the Court of Queen’s Bench Clerks Office at (780) 643-1137. This way you can ask specifically about your family law matter and obtain the most updated information. You will need your action number (Court file number) and your name. This way the Court Clerk can search for your matter on their computer system.
If your matter is not at the Edmonton Law Courts Building, then this link may help you locate your closest Courthouse and the telephone number. Remember to ask for a further referral if you do not reach the right Courthouse. Courthouse staff, while very busy, are often still very helpful. Just click on the Courthouse location closest to you and contact information will pop up.
WHAT SHOULD I DO NEXT?
In times of crisis or ongoing challenges, perspective is key. Remember you are not alone and COVID 19 has disrupted a lot of our everyday lives.
If issues arise and you cannot appear before a Judge, in the near future, here is what I suggest:
a) Write down the date, time and a description of the concerning incident or behaviour. Remember to write this down immediately or as soon as possible so your memory is fresh as well as accurate.
b) If you feel threatened or you feel unsafe, you can always call your local Police Station or RCMP Detachment. You can ask to write a statement or ask to be referred to their Victim Services Unit. The Victim Services Unit can provide ongoing support to you and resource information.
c) It is possible to reschedule a new Court appearance. But as COVID 19 precautions continue, be prepared that future Court appearances may also be cancelled.
d) Talk to a lawyer by booking a consultation. Many lawyers are still working remotely and can provide legal advice on your situation over the telephone. Our office can be contacted by calling (780) 761-1070 and we would be happy to book a telephone consultation with you. Please note there is a consultation fee. You may have peace of mind after asking your questions and finding out how the law applies to your circumstances.
e) If you have a lawyer and that lawyer’s office is open, you can discuss setting up a meeting via telephone with the other party or the other party and their lawyer. This way concerns can still be discussed and potentially a temporary solution can be worked on or implemented.
Remember we are just a phone call away, (780) 761-1070 and are happy to help you.
Author: Ms. Ning Ramos, Barrister and Solicitor
Feel free to read our other articles and free family law information. Stay healthy and safe.