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Covid-19 Updates from Local Courts and Our Firm


We wanted to give you a general update what to expect regarding your case during the COVID-19 outbreak

Rules have changed a few times and we expect that they will change again. Please call our staff to get the latest update when you are scheduled to attend a hearing or if the uncertainty of your court proceedings creates extra stress for you.  We want to help where we can!

Regarding our firm, we are all healthy and working.  Jim and Corinne Kraayeveld returned early from a family visit in Europe and are under self-quarantine until March 26 pursuant to the CDC requirements.   Although this is all pretty gloomy, we have good news to share:  Courtney Sierra is expecting!  For that reason, she is extra careful and would like to meet with people via telephone or video conferencing when possible.   Aaron Bainbridge, Kendra Ortega and our support staff are all working on site.  They, of course, request that you do not come to the office unnecessarily, if you have symptoms, are supposed to be quarantined.  Please call ahead if you want to visit for any reasons so that we can all stay safe!

We see a silver lining in how this bad virus impacts the legal practice .  As outlined below, many judges will decide disputes based on the written pleadings.  Fortunately, judges have complimented on our well written pleadings.  Our attorneys have received awards for their writing abilities.  And thus, we are confident that with the elimination of court hearings, we will save our clients time and money.  We will continue to work diligently and hope to see minimal impact to our clients.

The Michigan Supreme Court issued a statement reminding parents that all court orders are still effect.  If travel is restricted preventing parenting time or compliance with an order, the parents should work together to provide alternate access as close to the original order as possible.

Child support is expected to continue. With job changes, you may expect a delay with having a new income withholding order processed.  Child support payments can be made through the State Disbursement Unit website or Parents can also make payments through PayNearMe at CVS Pharmacy, 7-Eleven, Family Dollar, and Casey’s General Store.

Most West Michigan Circuit Courts have established policies regarding closures and hearings. Those policies are quite different for criminal, civil and family law cases.  Below you will find the current policies regarding family law/domestic relations cases only.

Regarding the 17th Circuit Court in Kent County, most of their services are only available via telephone, except for the personal protection department.   Their official policy is as follows:

  • Hearings are only adjourned if approved by the judge.
  • If you traveled to China, Italy, Iran or South Korea in the past 14 days, you may not go to the court building and only contact them via telephone.  
  • Vulnerable persons may request that their hearing be postponed.
  • Any case may be postponed upon request and upon approval by the judge.

However, the court has contacted our firm and provided us with more specifics, including:

  • Regarding non-essential hearings, the judge may issue an order based on the written pleadings, postpone the hearing or hold a hearing via telephone. 
  • If a hearing is necessary, then the judge may hold the hearing via telephone or video feed.
  • All Friend of the Court hearings are dismissed or postponed.
  • Personal protection Orders will still be accepted.
  • Judge Hillary has issued additional procedures for his hearings; but most of those guidelines are still very similar to the ones set forth above.

The 20th Circuit Court in Ottawa County provided:

  • Each judge will decide how to proceed regarding each hearing.
  • Judges will continue to issue decisions regarding emergency orders.
  • So far, the court has contacted us regarding each of the scheduled hearings and trials.  If you did not receive an update from us regarding your hearing, please contact our firm.

The 8th Circuit Court in Ionia and Montcalm Counties provided:

  • The Friend of the Court provided that all parenting time order still be followed, and contempt of court will still be issued for failure to comply.
  • The Circuit Court judges have not issued a policy statement as of March 18, 2020.

The 9th Circuit Court in Kalamazoo County ordered that:

  • The Clerk’s Office is closed for the public until April 12, 2020.
  • Motion hearings and trials scheduled prior to April 30 will be rescheduled.
  • Court pleadings can still be mailed to the court.
  • For Personal Protection Orders, you should call their coordinator at 269-385-6081.

Lastly, even while compiling these policies, we already received updates from judges and court administrators. Therefore, you should assume that some of the information may already be outdated.  For that reason, contact your attorney to get the latest update.