Emergency court orders still available in Madison County during COVID-19 pandemic

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MADISON COUNTY, Ala. – Within the past few weeks, several businesses and facilities have closed including the Madison County Courthouse. One judge said even though the courthouse is closed, the court system is still up and running.

Madison County Presiding Circuit Judge Ruth Ann Hall said the two are separate.

Hall wants people to understand that judges, clerks and lawyers continue to work during this time and people can still obtain emergency court orders if needed.

“Like protection from abuse orders,” she explained. “Perhaps they need emergency relief from a existing order that they are operating under.”

That also includes child custody obligations. Hall said even with the new stay-at-home order in place, parents are still required to uphold their visitation agreements.

“The governor’s stay at home order did not change, did not affect a custody order,” Hall explained. “Visitation exchanges are exempt from the governor’s order and the public health order. Visitation and exchanges should take place pursuant to the order that you currently have in your case.”

Though the courthouse is noticeably emptier than usual, Hall said there’s always at least one judge in the building during the week, but operations have shifted.

“We do not have in person proceedings, unless it is something related to an emergency or constitutionally required proceedings,” she added.

While the courthouse doors have closed to the public, Hall said the work will never stop.

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