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July 1 Update: Family Law Cases in Pima County Superior Court

Written by: Esther Brilliant, J.D.

As of July 1, 2020, divorce and family court in Pima County remains open, but it has had to adjust to the increase in corona virus cases.  See the Superior Court Administrative Order 2020-34 entered on June 30, 2020. Read the full text of the order. 

In a nutshell, here is what you need to know:

Probably not. From July 1, 2020 to August 7, 2020, all matters will occur through video or over the phone. The court will make exceptions for very good cause. 

For family law cases, the following types of hearings will receive priority.  The court may allow in person attendance:

  • Orders of protection without notice (ex parte orders) and injunctions against harassment;
  • Child support warrants if the person is in custody;
  • Contested Orders of Protection;
  • Hearings on temporary orders without notice;
  • Emergency  requests to enforce parenting time or legal decision-making.

The following hearings may be done in person, but do not receive priority:

  • Temporary support;
  • Post-decree temporary orders involving parenting time/legal decision-making/support;
  • Requests for exclusive use of the marital home;
  • School choice petitions;
  • Child support hearings;
  • Default hearings – which are where the other party does not answer your petition and the court can grant you relief anyhow.

If you want an in-person hearing, you or your attorney must ask in writing at least two days before the hearing. This request must be submitted to your assigned judge and the presiding judge – Judge Sakall. 

Only the parties, witnesses, victims, sheriff’s deputies, detention officers, law enforcement officers, parents in juvenile delinquency matters, and attorneys participating in the hearing are allowed to attend an in-person hearing. All others are at the discretion of the court.

The following types of hearings will not be conducted in person. Additionally, they will be continued if the court cannot conduct a hearing by phone or video.

  • Pre hearings status (called resolution management) conferences;
  • Settlement conferences;
  • Enforcement of prior orders and judgements for issues that do not relate to parenting;
  • Modification of parenting plans;
  • Final trials.

Additionally, any hearing involving modification of parenting plans or a final trial will be continued if more than two hours are required.

If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19, been exposed to it, or have symptoms of it, you must contact your assigned judge’s staff by phone or email and let them know.  They will either waive your presence or reset the hearing. If you do not do this, you could be held in contempt of court. Your temperature will be taken when you enter the courthouse. You must wear a mask or a face shield at all times when inside the courthouse. 

Unless there is an order prohibiting contact between the parties or a history of domestic violence between you and your former partner and you are self-represented, you must try to settle your case before a hearing. This does NOT include merely a letter or email. You have to make meaningful efforts personally, which includes by phone. The court can sanction you if you don’t comply.

Please see our blog post on parenting plan guidelines during COVID-19 for more information.

Message from McCarthy Family Law​

McCarthy Family Law is a full service family law firm that services all family law issues. If you are going through a divorce or have questions about filing for divorce, we are here to assist you. Please call us at 520-623-0341 to explore your options. Turning Stress Into Solutions®.