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Probate and Family Court Standing Order 1-2022: Virtual Proceedings Highly Recommended amid escalating COVID-19 spread

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The Massachusetts Probate and Family Court has released Standing Order 1-2022, temporarily overriding Standing Order 1-2021, regarding Court Operations Under the Exigent Circumstances Created by the COVID-19 Pandemic.

The Order, effective 01/05/2022, requires that all cases be held remotely if the case can be changed from in-person to virtual without having to reschedule. The form to request an in-person hearing be changed to remote can be found here: https://www.mass.gov/doc/assented-to-motion-for-all-parties-to-appear-remotely-cjd-424/download

Note: If all parties and attorneys do not agree to appear remotely, a Motion (CJD 400) form may need to be filed.

According to the order, rescheduling of cases is discouraged and should only happen as a last resort. While the change to virtual proceedings is highly recommended, scheduled in-person hearings shall continue where staffing levels are adequate.

In alignment with the shift to virtual proceedings, filing is now encouraged to be done through US mail or electronic means where available. Drop boxes may be available in some locations. Email filings will be accepted under specific circumstances also detailed in the Order.

This obviously remains an ever changing landscape during this ongoing pandemic. 

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