Family Law - Virtual Courtroom (Zoom) Instructions & Responsibilities
In response to the COVID-19 state of emergency and to provide access to the Court under shelter in place orders, Stanislaus Superior Court, Family Law Division is implementing “Virtual Court” via remote video technology for contested hearings by stipulation of the parties.
These Instructions & Responsibilities are designed to ensure full and fair hearings for all participants and to mitigate to the extent feasible any difficulties or disadvantages inherent in the technology.
The judge presiding over the virtual courtroom has the same authority to enforce these Instructions & Responsibilities, as the judge has presiding over a non-virtual hearing or trial. (Code Civ. Proc., § 128(a)).
- Be on time
Please ensure all equipment is fully tested in advance so that you are ready when court starts. Stanislaus Superior Court is not responsible to provide technical assistance.
- Frame the camera correctly
When you're on video make sure to:
- Frame your camera in a way that feels natural and allows you to look directly at the camera.
- Choose a spot where the background is courtroom appropriate and with no bright lights behind you.
- Always speak into the computer microphone and do not get up and walk around during hearings.
- Turn your camera off unless actively participating in the hearing, this will reduce the number of concurrent participants on the screen.
- Wear Court-appropriate attire
All persons who appear in any virtual courtroom shall dress appropriately as if they were appearing in person in a traditional courtroom setup. The following shall not be worn while appearing via video: sunglasses, hats, tank tops, or any other attire inconsistent with the traditional dignity of the court.
- Mute yourself when not speaking
Even though you may not be speaking and think you are being quiet, most microphones (including phones) can pick up minor background noises, like coughs, sneezes, paper handling, or typing. These sounds can easily distract other participants, including the court reporter who might not be able to properly transcribe the proceeding.
- Let everybody know who is speaking
In the virtual courtroom, it is very important that participants know who is talking. Please start speaking by stating your name, and then speak as slowly and clearly as you can. This will help the Judge, clerk, court reporter, and everyone else to understand what you are saying.
- No recording or broadcasting allowed
Photographing, videotaping, televising, or otherwise recording any virtual court proceeding is prohibited unless a written request has been filed and approved by the Judge presiding at the proceeding prior to the commencement of the proceeding. No one may transmit, record, or take pictures in any portion of the video session except as permitted by these rules and Rule 1.150 of the California Rules of Court.
Each participant is responsible for sharing evidence during a virtual proceeding.
- All exhibits will be pre-marked either numerically (for Petitioner) or alphabetically (for Respondent).
- The offering party will provide copies of all pre-marked exhibits to the opposing party or parties at least ten (10) days before trial. The offering party will also provide copies of any exhibits at least ten (10) days before trial to any witnesses that will be asked to testify regarding the exhibits or will be confronted with them during the course of their testimony.
- The offering party shall lodge with the Family Law Clerk's office all exhibits to be offered at trial at least ten (10) days before trial.
- If there are documents that were recently discovered or obtained after the ten (10) day period, or that are to be used solely for impeachment purposes, it is the offering party’s responsibility to ensure that true and correct copies are lodged with the Court in time for the hearing and that the exhibits or impeachment materials are viewable in real time on screen, and legible if written, to the Court and all participants, including witnesses, parties and/or their attorneys. Failure to comply with this requirement may be deemed, in the Court’s discretion, grounds to exclude such documents or exhibits from evidence.
If the case requires an interpreter:
The Court will only supply an interpreter if one is available and the parties provide sufficient notice to the interpreter coordinator. (See Local Rules, rule 3.10 and rule 7.26(B) [Family Law].)
Interpreter requests must be received a minimum of two (2) days prior to the hearing for the following languages: Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin, Tagalog, Portuguese, Arabic, Vietnamese, Russian, Korean, Tongan.
If any other language is desired, a minimum of seven (7) days' notice is required; a timely request for an interpreter does not guarantee the Court will be able to supply one
Please submit all interpreter requests through the Court's website.
Counsel who need to have a private conversation with their client and are utilizing a Court provided interpreter, please phone the interpreter coordinator at 650-261-5023, and we will connect you with an interpreter on standby who may assist you.
Remote reporting is not permitted. An in-person court reporter may be obtained as per Local Rules. (See Local Rules, rule 7.26(C).)