Wayne County reverts to in-person filings for family court

DETROIT (AP) — The family division of the circuit court in Michigan's largest county is returning to in-person filing in March following media reporting on weekslong delays blamed on an email-based filing system.

The Detroit Free Press reports that Chief Judge Timothy Kenny hopes the change to in-person filings of divorces and other family court matters will help clear a massive backlog.

The newspaper previously reported on delays that have lasted about two months in divorce cases, delaying assignment of a case number and a judge to consider filings. The delays also meant spouses filing for divorce could not pursue routine orders requiring continuing mortgage or car payments.

The email system was developed during the COVID-19 pandemic, but court clerks still had to process the emailed filings by hand.

“The email system that we have has turned out to be too laborious,” Kenny said. “It’s not helped us process filings as quickly as we would like.”

Some attorneys have called for the court to also hire more staff and are concerned that the return to in-person filings puts people at risk of the coronavirus.


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