To allow for expansion of court proceedings in a manner to protect overall public health, a presumption will apply requiring all hearings to be held by Webex. Based on the needs to provide safe operations, in person hearings for family court matters will be limited to specific days of the week during each session of domestic court.
It is highly recommended that any filings with the clerk be made by mail, with return self-addressed stamped envelope to eliminate unnecessary foot traffic in the courthouse.
Maximum occupancy for 8th floor courtrooms is sixteen (16) people, and for courtroom 6350, twenty-four (24) people. This does not include the judge, clerk and deputy.
Motions, Contempts, Pretrial Conferences, and Pro Se Day
Motions day (AM) (Virtual): Motions shall be calendared beginning at 9:00 AM. Motions to Withdraw as Counsel are to be submitted as Consent Orders through family court whenever possible. Local Form CCF-7 should accompany each submission of a proposed Order to Withdraw. Orders to Withdraw shall include the client’s address, telephone number, and email address. The Motions set on the calendar shall be staggered for hearing between 9:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. If necessary, the clerk will provide parties with the Webex link. If there are any Motions requiring testimony, or any Motions that will take longer than the Webex time slots allow, or there are other extenuating circumstances that prevent the Motion from being heard via Webex at the Monday morning Motions setting, the Judge will set those to be heard, presumptively via Webex, during the term at a time certain.
Motions day (PM) (Virtual): Temporary Child Support (TCS) and Post-Separation Support (PSS): The Mecklenburg County Local Rules permit hearing TCS and PSS cases by Affidavit only. These matters will be decided on Affidavits with limited exceptions. All TCS and PSS cases will be set on the Motions docket on the first Monday of the term at 1:30 p.m. Please note that some judges will have WEBEX Hearings for TCS and PSS cases instead of deciding these cases by affidavit only. (A limit may be imposed on the number of cases set for each term.) After obtaining a date from Family Court, the moving party shall serve the opposing party with a Notice of “Calendared Date” (see attached form).
Parties shall file with the court and serve upon the other party the Affidavit of Financial Standing and serve upon the other party the required attachments to the Affidavit ten (10) days prior to the scheduled calendar date. Parties shall be permitted to file testimonial affidavits that shall not exceed fifteen (15) pages in total, double spaced, single sided, with no smaller than 12-point font. Multiple affidavits may be submitted, but the entirety of all affidavits shall not exceed the 15 page limit. These may include comments on the other party’s financial information. The signature/notary page shall not be included in the limitation of page numbers. The testimonial affidavits shall be filed and served upon the other party no later than the Thursday prior to the Monday when the case is calendared. Filed Testimonial Affidavits and the non-filed supporting documents required to be exchanged pursuant to the Local Rules shall be delivered to the Judge’s clerk by noon on Friday prior to the calendared date, by requesting the file clerk leave a copy on the courtroom clerk’s desk, or by submitting the documents to the clerk via Liquid Files. During the time the matters are calendared, the judges’ courtroom shall not be open, and the judge shall use the afternoon to review each of the matters calendared. The judge shall notify the parties/counsel of the ruling based on the review of verified pleadings, motions, financial affidavits and required attachments, and testimonial affidavits.
If a matter is complex (such as one party being self-employed), a party may file and serve “Request for Hearing on Temporary Matter” at the time the Affidavit of Financial Standing is filed and served. Family court shall hold these request for three (3) days, and the opposing party shall have an opportunity to file and submit a Response to the Request for the Judge’s consideration. If the judge grants a hearing, the judge’s clerk shall notify the parties of the date and time of the hearing, which may be at a different setting that the original “calendared date” and may be done by Webex. A hearing may be granted on the court’s own Motion if the judge determines additional evidence beyond the affidavits is needed.
Contempts (In-Person) (1st Tuesday)
Dockets shall be staggered to allow for the courtroom to not exceed the maximum recommended occupants to allow for proper social distancing. Cases known to be for Civil Contempt may be scheduled via Webex. Criminal Contempt cases must be heard in person unless a waiver of appearance is filed (see AOC form). The judge’s preference for their contempt day start time shall be communicated to their case coordinator.
Pretrial conferences are strongly encouraged to be handled by Consent Orders and submitted prior to the calendared date. Parties may submit Consent Orders through family court prior to the date the pretrial conference is scheduled. The case coordinator will assist by providing Status Conference dates for Initial Pretrial Orders and trial term dates for Status Conference Checklist Orders for the Consent Orders. To obtain the dates for status conferences and trial terms, please contact the case coordinator via email only. Pretrial Consent Orders shall be submitted to Family Court by the Friday at noon prior to the calendared Pretrial Conference. Only those cases without Consent Orders submitted will have an actual pretrial or status conference on the first Wednesday morning of the judge’s term. These shall be done by Webex conference.
Only pro se litigants not able to attend via Webex should be in the courtroom for these matters. Pro se litigants can contact the case coordinator for their assigned Judge for questions related to attending the Webex or appearing in the courtroom.
Pro Se Day (2nd Tuesday and Wednesday) (In-Person)
Pro Se Day shall have fewer cases set than in the past to allow for staggered appearances and proper social distancing. The first Pro se day shall take place on the 2nd Tuesday of the session. The judge’s preference for their consistent Pro Se Day start time shall be communicated to their case coordinator. Two cases per hour shall be set and noticed for seven specific time slots during the day, allowing for skipping 12:00 p.m. or 12:30 p.m. so that the court may have a lunch break.
A second Pro Se Day shall be set for each judge on the second Wednesday morning of the term for a half day (three time slots) to allow for a sufficient number of cases to be heard and a gradual reduction of backlog. This changes the normal number of Pro Se cases set per session of approximately 17 in one day to 20 in a day and a half. Any case on the pro se docket that has a contempt issue shall be set on the 2nd Tuesday morning Pro Se Docket.
Calendar Call and Trials
Published calendars will be posted approximately twenty-three (23) days prior to the scheduled calendar call. Calendar calls shall be done via Webex Conference by visiting the Virtual Courtroom URLS:
The clerk shall be responsible for setting up the Webex Conference for calendar call. The courtroom Webex link shall be on the notice of calendar call produced by the case coordinator. Fewer cases will be set on each judge’s docket to minimize the need for cases not being reached, continued, or set for standby. This will mean it is highly likely that your case will be set and not continued. If you have a case on a published calendar and intend to request a continuance to another term, you should file a Motion to Continue at least 10 days prior to the scheduled calendar call. All Motions to Continue will be held by family court for 3 days to allow the opposing side to respond, according to the Local Rules. Judges shall rule on written Motions to Continue in advance of calendar call, and the clerk or case coordinator will notify the parties of the Judge’s ruling. Continuance requests at calendar call should be a rarity. Each judge shall have their calendar call at their normal designated day and time of their session. The calendar call shall be done via Webex and may be staggered with the first half of the docket attending the Webex conference from the top of the hour to the bottom of the hour and the second half of the docket attending the Webex conference beginning at the bottom of the hour. For example, Judge Culler’s calendar call is on the first Friday of the term at 10:00 a.m., if there are 20 cases on the docket, cases 1-10 will appear for calendar call via Webex beginning at 10:00 a.m. and cases 11-20 will appear for calendar call via Webex beginning at 10:30 a.m. Only pro se litigants not able to attend via Webex should be in the courtroom for calendar call. Pro se litigants can contact the case coordinator for their assigned Judge for questions related to attending the WebEx or appearing in the courtroom.
People in Attendance for In Person Hearings
To protect the health and wellbeing of everyone involved, only the party, their attorney and essential witnesses shall be present at in person hearings and trials. Paralegals and co-counsel from the same firm should be present only if the attorney deems them necessary to being able to represent their client. Support persons, such as parents, new spouses, and friends shall not come to court unless they will be called as an essential witness to the case.
The custody mediation department goals during the re-opening process is to prioritize the safety of the public, the safety of our staff, provide customer service in unique ways, complete mediations with excellence and efficiency and successfully complete all rescheduled Custody Mediation Orientations and Mediation Sessions and be completely up to date as soon as possible.
- Custody Mediation Orientations (CMOs). All CMOs scheduled will be done remotely. Either CMO Live (virtual) conducted by the State or Mecklenburg County or self directed online. There will not be any face-to-face CMOs conducted. 45 cases will be scheduled.
- All mediation sessions will be remote (Zoom);
a. In the event a party insist they are unable do the session remotely, they will contact the Program Assistant to receive a date and time to come into the office to do the session via Zoom in the conference room on a laptop. Program Assistant will only schedule one case for Zoom in the office per time slot to ensure no overlapping.
Online Custody Mediation Orientations/SessionsFor those cases where one party has completed the orientation online, the mediation department is scheduling mediations sessions. The party who has not completed the orientation will do so right before the mediation session begins. This way we can move cases along more efficiently.
Zoom Mediation Sessions Notices drafted from the mediation department will notify parties that they can complete CMOs online as well as mediations can be completed via Zoom. If one party wants to come in the mediation office for the mediation and the other party does not want to come into the office due to COVID-19 the mediation will still be conducted via Zoom. Our departments’ goal is to prioritize the safety of the parties and the staff but still move cases along in timely manner by giving individuals as many reasonable options to complete mediation sessions as possible during the time of re-opening.
Mediation Department Suite DoorThe mediation department will keep the door locked during normal business hours until further notice.
Temporary Parenting Arrangements (TPAs) and Emergency Custody and TROs
Temporary Parenting Arrangements
TPAs will be handled on the verified and responsive motions, in most cases without a hearing. Presentation of Motions and Responses shall be through Family Court in the manner currently in effect in the local rules. If necessary, and directly related to the urgency raised by the Motion or Response, parties are permitted include Testimonial Affidavits with the Motion or Responsive Motion. Testimonial Affidavits must be served with the Motion or Response, and shall not exceed fifteen (15) pages in total, double spaced, single sided, with no smaller than 12-point font. The notary page shall not be included in the limitation of page numbers. Multiple affidavits may be submitted, but the entirety of all affidavits shall not exceed the 15 page limit. Testimonial affidavits shall not include any statements not admissible under the rules of evidence. Exhibits may be attached to the affidavits only if they are directly related to the urgency raised in the TPA Motion or Response and would be admissible in evidence. The judge may exclude any Affidavits that do not comply with these requirements. The judge shall rule on the submitted documents and notify the parties of the ruling. If the judge determines additional testimony is needed, then the judge may set a hearing, which may be via Webex.
Emergency Custody and TROs
Emergency hearings will be heard by the assigned family court judge on the date and time and in the manner (i.e., Webex or in person) as the judge sets in the order.
Submission of Orders
Attorneys may submit hard copies of orders through Family Court in the regular manner. If an envelope is submitted with the order, it will be returned by mail, otherwise it will be left for pick up in the family court box. Attorneys may alternatively email orders to the judge’s Case Coordinator. Emails to Case Coordinators with attached orders shall be copied to opposing counsel/pro se party. The subject line of emails to Case Coordinators with proposed orders shall include the case number and “proposed order”. Proposed Orders shall be submitted in Word format. Consent Orders shall be submitted in pdf format. The case number shall be followed with the assigned judge’s initials on all orders. If an Order is submitted via email, the entered order will be returned by the case coordinator via email to the submitting attorney and opposing counsel/pro se party.