Zoom Video and Telephonic Court Hearings During COVID-19
For any one, going to Court can be extremely stressful. However, during a global pandemic, there are a variety of new stressors and uncertainties associated with Court hearings. This is especially so for Domestic Violence and Family Law litigants.
Washington Courts are currently conducting hearings virtually in order to address social distancing. While the Judge or Court Staff is often present in the Courtroom, participants are usually heard via a variety of remote options, such as Zoom Video Conferences, CourtCall Application or simply via a Telephonic Hearing.
In preparation for such a remote option, particularly a Zoom Conference, here are some simple steps to follow to have a successful experience:
1. Prior to your hearing, make sure you have downloaded the Zoom application. This can be downloaded on your computer, tablet or even your phone. Familiarize yourself with the app, there are various tutorials on YouTube that explain how to use this application. It will make your hearing less stressful if you are not overwhelmed or confused by the technology.
2. It is important to note that although you are not physically in a Courtroom, you still are in a Court hearing and need to treat it as so. This applies whether a telephonic hearing,utilizing the Court Call application or Zoom Conference. Just because you are at home, or at your attorneys office, does not change the fact that you are virtually "in Court". Plan on being in a quiet and private place without distractions. Children and animals can draw your attention away from the proceedings so please arrange for their care during your hearing.
3. Your image will be on the Zoom screen both in the Courtroom and for the people also having hearings. Various counties, such as Pierce County, are broadcasting some hearings on YouTube, so the audience can be literally anyone. Consider what you are allowing the Court and others to see. It is important that you are dressed appropriately and neatly groomed. People are able to see everything that is behind you. A neutral background that does not include other people or private information is wise.
4. It is also important to note that individuals in this virtual Courtroom can see your facial expressions and any noises that are being made. Through Zoom, you are able to mute both your audio and your image. It is important that you appear serious and professional about what is being heard.
5. If you have an Attorney, they will do the majority of the talking on your behalf but be prepared to speak if asked a direct question. When you do speak, do so clearly.
6. Many Judges will give directions at the beginning of the hearing as to how the hearing process will work. Listen carefully and follow those directions.
By following these guidelines, your matter will be handled smoothly and professionally. Give us a call if you are seeking help with your case.
Family law litigation can be emotionally difficult and complex. Decisions made about each step of the litigation can affect you for many years. At Bains Law Firm, we have decades of experience helping our clients through the difficulty of family law matters of all types and can help you through the process. Contact us today at (253) 838 – 3377 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org, to talk about your case.
Disclaimer: All materials provided on this website have been prepared by Bains Law Firm for general information purposes only and no representation is made as to their completeness or accuracy. Information on this website is not intended as legal advice, and may not be relied upon as such. Only an attorney who can review the unique facts of each case and apply them to the statutes, case law and court rules can provide legal advice. Nothing in this website shall be construed to create an attorney-client relationship.