Georgia residents are still adapting to the many changes brought on by COVID-19. Recent announcements from the Governor and the Chief Justice are impacting families across the state.
Chief Justice Extends Judicial Emergency
On April 6th, 2020, the Honorable Harold D. Melton, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of
Georgia, extended the statewide judicial emergency from its original date of April 13th to continue until May 13th.
It is possible that this date could change again as officials learn more about the rate at which the coronavirus is spread. In an effort to allow courts to plan the transition to fuller operations, Justice Melton will notify the courts at least one week in advance before the Order is terminated.
During this time, Georgia courts are to remain open only for matters considered to be essential — issuing search and arrest warrants, granting domestic abuse restraining orders, etc. For cases not considered essential, Justice Melton has urged courts to function and conduct hearings remotely via teleconferencing and videoconferencing to prevent exposure to the virus.
Child Visitation Listed as an Essential Activity
Governor Kemp’s latest amendment to Georgia’s Shelter in Place order has deemed some actions pertaining to domestic relations as essential activities. As of April 13th, 2020, “‘essential services’ shall also include the transport, visitation, [and] regular care of family members and persons dependent on the services… specifically including the elderly, children, and disabled populations.”
Under this amendment, child visitation is considered an essential activity — parents are required to honor child custody and visitation agreements while observing social distancing as much as possible.
Read the full order here.
One thing that has not changed when it comes to co-parenting is the need to keep the children’s best interests as the number one priority. Avoid using this crisis as an excuse to breach any preset parenting agreements, and instead focus on what makes sense for the children to keep them happy, assured, safe, and unaware of any drama that may occur between you and your ex.
At Andersen, Tate & Carr, our attorneys are dedicated to reaching the best possible outcome for our clients. Trinity Hundredmark heads our Domestic Relations Division. She is an experienced attorney with more than a decade of experience representing clients. For more information, or to request a case evaluation, contact our law office at 1-770-467-3205.