COVID-19 has impacted every aspect of the global community, including San Diego’s Family Court. The Court closed its doors on March 17, 2020 and did not reopen until May 26, 2020. Over 10,000 hearings were impacted as a result. That’s right – 10,000!
Behind the scenes, the Court’s administration and staff worked tirelessly around the clock to facilitate changes to its system that would adhere to CDC and County guidelines upon reopening. Those efforts resulted in the use of video conferencing for all family law hearings.
In order to virtually attend your family law hearing, you must install Microsoft Teams on your device. You can use a tablet, laptop, desktop, or even your phone. Open the program after installation and create an account. This is free to do.
On the day of your hearing, click on this link and scroll down to click on the Department where your case is being heard. Microsoft Teams will automatically open and you will be placed into the virtual lobby of the Department.
The Court recommends that you go to the virtual lobby 30 minutes before your hearing’s start time.
At some point, the courtroom clerk will check you in. While you are waiting to be checked in, you should mute your device. Only unmute your device if you are being spoken to directly, or if your case has been called.
Once everyone is checked in, you will be virtually placed into the Department. You will likely see the Judge’s bench on your screen. After the Judge takes the bench, cases will be called one by one. Wait for your case to be called and then proceed.
- Join the hearing from a room with little to no background noise.
- Don’t have anyone else in the room with you. If you must have someone in the same room, notify the clerk and/or Judge right away.
- Keep yourself on mute at all times until you are being checked in and when your case is called.
- Check in early to avoid any last-minute technological mishaps.
- Do not speak over anyone. You and/or your attorney will have an opportunity to speak. The Court reporter cannot transcribe the hearing if people are talking over one another. This will just cause more delay as the Judge will have to interrupt the hearing.
- Be patient. If your case is not one of the first ones to be called, you may be waiting for a while. Always assume that you may be waiting for up to three hours in a worst case scenario situation.
- If you do not have the technological capabilities to join the hearing through video conferencing, you may call in to the Department. The phone numbers and access codes for each Department can be found here.
The Zarin Law Firm, APC is a full-service family law office serving all of San Diego County. We handle divorce, custody and visitation, child and spousal support, division of property, restraining orders, and much more. If you need to speak to an experienced family law attorney about your case, please use our contact form or call us at (619) 800-4189. We offer you a complimentary 30-minute phone consultation with a family law attorney.