Santa Barbara Courts Re-Opened For In Person Hearings

On March 18, 2020, the Santa Barbara Superior Court closed in an effort to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. After March 18, 2020, the court would only hear and decide emergency (Ex Parte) matters on the paperwork submitted and phone calls with the attorneys and the court.

On May 21, 2020, the Santa Barbara Superior Court re-opened for all family law hearings remotely. The court invested and outfitted each courtroom with video zoom technology. Since May 21, 2020, all hearings in Santa Barbara County for family law cases were via zoom.

Our firm invested heavily in increasing our wi-fi bandwidth and zoom technology to adjust to remote hearings via zoom. The results were extremely beneficial for our clients. We conducted zoom family law hearings every week and conducted over 15 multiple day family law trials (the most out of all Santa Barbara Family Law attorneys). Witnesses and clients testified from our conference room, their home, or work via zoom without issue. We even called a witness from a Germany who testified in a divorce trial via zoom effectively. While other firms struggled with the transition with zoom, our clients benefitted by receiving expeditious and extraordinary results.

On June 18, 2021, the Santa Barbara Superior Court reopened for in person hearings. The Santa Barbara Superior Court stated that the three family law departments are now open to attorneys and litigants in person (this includes Judge Anderle in Department 3, Judge Donna Geck in Department 4 and Judge Sterne in Department 5).

What is unclear with the court’s current order re-opening for in person hearings is whether zoom appearances by parties and attorneys will still be permitted. It is our hope that a hybrid approach will be used, whereby parties and litigants will be able to utilize both zoom appearances and in person hearings together.

If you have questions regarding your Santa Barbara Superior Court Divorce or Family Law case, call Morales Law at (805) 845-5405.