FC&Z Family Lawyers

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Covid-19 Update - We are Open

March 19, 2020
Covid-19 Update - We are Open

FC&Z is still open for business.

Our staff, including all lawyers and assistants, are set up to work remotely and we will continue to provide all scheduled services.

If your meeting would normally be in person, we are pleased to offer meetings via Zoom Video Conferencing as well as regular telephone calls or teleconferences. Please let us know if you need some help setting up Zoom.

Most non-essential in-person meetings will be rescheduled to phone meetings, if at all possible.

Our offices will remain open to a degree (unless we are told to shut down), provided that anybody entering our offices is appropriately screened in accordance with the latest Alberta Health guidelines. We kindly ask that you do not come to our offices unless you have been expressly cleared to do so by one of our staff.

The Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench has adjourned all non-emergency or urgent court matters with no rescheduled future date. The Court of Queen’s Bench has issued the following statement:

To help contain the spread of COVID-19, the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench is limiting hearings to emergency or urgent matters only. Emergency matters are those in which serious consequences to persons or harm to property may arise if the hearing does not proceed, or if there is a risk of loss of jurisdiction or expiration of an existing protection or restraining order, including but not limited to:

  1. Family Matters:

Orders where there is a risk of violence or immediate harm to one of the parties or a child. Orders where there is a risk of removal of a child from the jurisdiction. Emergency Protection Order reviews.

Source: https://www.albertacourts.ca/qb/resources/announcements/covid-19-suspension-of-sittings

The Provincial Court of Alberta has issued the following statement in relation to family law matters:

Non-urgent family matters set to be heard after March 17, 2020 will be adjourned for ten weeks from the scheduled court date. The Court website will be updated regularly to provide information regarding rescheduling, which will be 10 weeks from the date of your scheduled court appearance or the next court date thereafter.

The following matters are considered urgent and will be heard by the court:

matters with statutory limitations or deadlines; where there is the risk of violence or immediate harm to one of the parties or the child; where there is risk of removal of a child; apprehension orders; Initial Custody Hearings, first appearance after apprehension, and mandatory reviews or show causes under the Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act, Protection of Children Abusing Drugs Act, Protection of Sexually Exploited Children Act, Mandatory Drug Testing and Disclosure Act, and Mental Health Act; warrants, and emergency protection orders.

Family Pre-Trial Conferences, Child Protection Case Management Meetings and Judicial Dispute Resolutions will be conducted by telephone unless adjourned.

Any Child Protection Hearing where the parties have consented to a return, Supervision order, Temporary Guardianship Order or Permanent Guardianship Order will occur on an as-needed basis.

Source: https://www.albertacourts.ca/pc/resources/announcements/covid-19-pandemic-planning-for-the-scheduling-of-matters

The situation is still evolving and all information is subject to change. We anticipate there will be a bottleneck of proceedings going into the summer months where judicial resources will be tight. This will most likely result in significant delays in rescheduling a matter.

As an alternative to court processes, we can examine whether other options may be available to assist in moving your matter forward, including 4-Way Settlement Meetings, Mediation, Arbitration, or any other form of non-Court process.

We remain committed to provided you with the best possible service during this difficult time.

Stay healthy, and we will update you if the situation changes in any way.

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