Virtual Las Vegas Family Court Hearings
Tuesday, July 21, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused changes in the operations of the family courts in Las Vegas. Divorce motion hearings are no longer conducted in the courtroom. Instead, the hearings occur virtually using BlueJeans video conferencing cloud-based software. This change does not affect divorce trials which still occur in the physical courtroom.
Most divorce attorneys in Las Vegas are experiencing benefits from the new procedures, particularly as it pertains to focusing their time on client counsel and legal arguments. Clients with active divorce cases benefit as well. Previously, divorce lawyers and their clients would have to travel to the courthouse, find parking, navigate the security checkpoint, and then wait in the hallway for their case to be called by the judge.
The new virtual court hearings are far more efficient. The video conferencing method eliminates time consuming travel and allows divorce attorneys and their clients to participate from the comfort and safety of their office, home, or other private venue. Divorce attorneys can focus on the substance of their clients’ cases without inefficient travel concerns.
All technologies experience occasional glitches. However, BlueJeans is performing solidly so far. The system uses high definition video and Dolby voice audio. Technical delays are rare and judges are very accommodating when they infrequently occur. Security issues are non-existent since the system was first put in place. In addition to the efficiencies for judges, divorce attorneys, and their clients, video conferencing has also minimized the space problem the family courts have struggled with in the past.
There are no formal plans as of yet to keep the video conferencing court hearing method in place once the pandemic passes. However, the family courts, like all local Las Vegas government agencies, will have to deal with the inevitable budget cuts that are forthcoming. Las Vegas has been hit particularly hard by COVID-19 due to our heavy reliance on the hospitality industry and the state-wide business closures. Tax revenues from businesses are down substantially and the exact amount of decrease has yet to be determined.
BlueJeans video conferencing is used by major companies such as ADP, Facebook, National Geographic, and Zillow to name just a few. One of the major benefits to the family court motion hearings is that a transcription of the proceedings is readily available. The video conference recording and transcription provides the official record for all participants.
Las Vegas News is a community update brought to you by our divorce lawyers in Las Vegas. Check back for future information and keep up on the revitalization of our city. Our divorce attorneys and certified paralegal staff continue to provide legal counsel and emotional support to our existing and new clients. Courtesy phone consultations at no charge, and when appropriate, video conferences in place of in-office meetings, are available.
Las Vegas Casinos Are Open!
Thursday June 4, 2020
Las Vegas casinos are open starting Thursday June 4, 2020 after being shutdown for 78 days. Beginning at 12:01 a.m. casinos in downtown Las Vegas and other local venues opened their doors to guests. Some of the first to open were the Golden Nugget and D Las Vegas. Free champagne was flowing as a moderate crowd celebrated the new beginning for Las Vegas.
A few days prior, Las Vegas D owner Derek Stevens offered 2,000 free airline tickets to out-of-town visitors. They were swept up within a few hours demonstrating the appeal of our city to a nationwide clientele. Red Rock Resorts in the west valley also welcomed a largely local crowd one minute after midnight. A favorite of Summerlin locals, the resort offers a more laid-back alternative to the Las Vegas Strip properties. On the Strip, Bellagio, The Venetian, Caesars Palace, New York – New York, Circus Circus, and other major hotels plan to open at various times on Thursday during the day. Other properties throughout the Las Vegas valley have their own opening days and times. It’s always best to check directly with the venue you plan on visiting to ensure they’re open.
Las Vegas casinos have implemented new procedures to make their guests feel safe. But note that each property’s exact approach may vary. Certain venues have thermal cameras which check the temperature of guests upon entering. If someone exhibits a higher than normal temperature they are further screened and may be refused entry. Employees wear masks which is a now familiar look. Social distancing is encouraged by limiting players on slot machines and table games. Plexiglass partitions are newly installed in most casinos. Hand sanitizing stations are common throughout the gaming properties. Masks are encouraged but not mandatory for guests. Vulnerable persons more susceptible to COVID-19 should continue to be cautious wherever they go.
Las Vegas was hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic because our economy is closely tied to the hospitality industry. In addition to the casinos, local business owners agree that it’s time to get back up and running. Time will tell how quickly we bounce back, but our resolve is strong. Vegas Strong!
Phase 1 Reopening Begins
Thursday May 7, 2020
Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak signed Declaration of Emergency Directive 18 today. This Directive begins the reopening of businesses in Las Vegas and throughout Nevada. Many citizens are enthused to get back to work after the first Directive on March 12, 2020 largely constrained the state economy. Directive 18 sets limitations on the manner in which businesses can open and how they operate. Portions appear below.
Business Opening Guidelines
Part of the Directive states: Effective May 9, 2020, all businesses that engage in retail sales may, in addition to providing retail sales on a curbside or home delivery basis, allow customer access, with a maximum occupancy of 50% based on listed fire code capacity. Businesses are strongly encouraged to promote home delivery, curbside delivery, walk-up, drive-through, or window service whenever possible. Businesses must adopt measures promulgated by NV OSHA to minimize the risk of spread of COVID-19 including social distancing and sanitation measures, and abide by all other guidance promulgated pursuant to this and other Directives. To the maximum extent practicable, businesses must provide services in a manner disallowing the formation of queues whereby persons congregate in a manner that violates the social distancing guidelines above. All businesses are encouraged to permit their employees to work from home to the maximum extent practicable. Retail businesses operating in open-air malls or strip malls are expressly permitted to operate under the conditions set forth in this Directive. Retail businesses operating pursuant to this Directive at indoor malls may provide retails sales to any extent they can do so on a home delivery basis, or for curbside delivery outside the mall under the conditions set forth in the Directive.
Las Vegas Dining Establishments
Dining establishments have been limited to curbside takeout or delivery for weeks. Directive 18 provides relief for restaurants and those of us looking to get out of the house and enjoy a good meal. The following text in the Directive pertains specifically to dining establishments.
All restaurants and food establishments operating during the state of emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic are strongly encouraged to accommodate vulnerable persons by providing to-go, curbside, and delivery options for customers. Restaurants and food establishments, including bars and taverns licensed to serve food, may provide onsite dining subject to the following provisions:
- The maximum occupancy for onsite dining shall be 50% of the maximum seating capacity under normal circumstances, excluding bar seating.
- Tables or available booths must be spaced, or customers seated a minimum of 6 feet apart from other customers.
- Bar tops and bar areas shall remain closed to customers, but bar beverages may be served at tables for onsite consumption.
- Customers waiting to dine onsite must wait. outside the establishment until they can be seated and must practice social distancing by maintaining a minimum of 6 feet of separation between customers not residing in the same household.
- To the maximum extent practicable, restaurants and food establishments should require reservations to manage occupancy.
Restaurants and food establishments unable to comply with Items 1-4, above, may not open for onsite dining, but may continue to offer to go, curbside and home delivery to customers. Buffets, cafeterias, and self-serve dining facilities shall remain closed until further notice.
Additionally, the Directive provides that all businesses should:
- Encourage customers to wear face coverings
- Continue to encourage telework, whenever possible and feasible with business operations
- Return to work in phases
- Close common areas where personnel are likely to congregate and interact, or enforce strict social distancing protocols
- Strongly consider special accommodations for personnel who are members of a vulnerable population
- Consider encouraging employees to do a self-assessment each day in order to check if they have any COVID-19 type symptoms, for example, fever, cough or shortness of breath
- Practice hand hygiene
- Perform frequent enhanced environmental cleaning of commonly touched surfaces
- Implement separate operating hours for vulnerable populations
- Provide signage advising the public of appropriate social distancing within the facility, including six feet of social distancing from other individuals; and
- Provide readily available hand sanitizer or other sanitizing products for employees and customers
Not all businesses are able to reopen in Phase 1. Directive 18 further states that the following non-essential businesses shall remain closed during Phase 1 reopening:
- Bars, pubs, and taverns not covered by Sections 17 or 18 of this Directive
- Gyms and fitness facilities
- Recreation and community centers including public pools
- Museums and art galleries
- Zoos and aquariums, but may remain open to staff members to maintain essential operations for the health and safety of animals
- Entertainment venues, including sports venues, movie theaters with the exception of drive-in theaters covered in Section 14 of this Directive, museums, bowling alleys, arcades and other amusement venues, and miniature golf
- Adult entertainment facilities
- Massage parlors, not to include massages for physical therapy or that are medically necessary as prescribed by a licensed healthcare provider
- Spas, not to include nail salons, hair salons, and barber shops covered in Section 16 of this Directive
- Body art facilities
- Body piercing facilities
- Tanning salons
Divorce Lawyers Las Vegas – March/April 2020
The Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic has changed the lives of all Americans and tens of millions throughout the world. Our divorce attorneys provide the following general counsel for our local community.
Recognize that Everyone is Under Stress
The gravity of the pandemic is stressful for everyone. There are numerous factors that contribute to this. First, the speed at which this situation has come upon us is unparalleled. What was unimaginable a few short weeks ago is today’s reality. So we haven’t had the benefit of time to get accustomed to our new normal. Second, no one knows exactly what the eventual outcome will be, except that our lives will be forever changed. Third, the economic strain is real and will take time to recover. Many in our Las Vegas community have already, and hopefully temporarily, been furloughed from their jobs. Business owners have closed their doors and are dealing with the shock of having their life savings and years of hard work in jeopardy. For these reasons, and countless others, it’s perfectly understandable that many people are feeling stressed.
The Effects on Your Children
Many of the calls our divorce lawyers in Las Vegas receive are child related. In addition to the difficulties that everyone is having, co-parenting and shared custody arrangements pose additional concerns – both logistical and financial. Let’s face it; co-parenting can be difficult in the best of circumstances. And in times of heightened stress there can be a tendency for short tempers. Be cognizant of this when dealing with your children’s other parent. They’ll always be time for venting later, if need be. In addition to our clients, we offer these tips and recommendations to all divorced parents as they work through normalizing their lives and those of their children.
Co-Parenting in the New Normal
All divorced parents with minor children have child custody and child support arrangements. As a general rule, you should handle these issues as you have before. In situations where this is not possible, it’s best for co-parents to be civil and flexible with each other. If you are not doing so already, now is the time to cooperate with your ex for the sake of your children. Put your differences aside and work with your former spouse on shared custody arrangements. We realize that this is not always possible and our divorce attorneys offer assistance to those who can’t work things out with their former spouse by themselves.
Stay Healthy and Maintain Social Distancing
Use every precaution when it comes to your health and the health of your children. Children often mimic the behavior of their parents. Lead by example with frequent hand washing, disinfecting surfaces, and other than for work or vital errands, staying at home as much as possible. Keeping busy at home can stave off “cabin fever”. Now may be a great time for an extensive spring cleaning. If your children are not schooling on-line, keep them occupied with household chores or other activities. Practice social distancing when leaving your home. Stay at least 6 feet away from others whenever possible. Also follow best practices when transferring children from one home to another.
Remain Calm in the Presence of Your Children
Be mindful that your children are going through stress themselves. Depending on their age, children pickup signals from their parents in different ways. So it’s best to remain calm especially in the presence of your children. If you project a composed attitude so will they. Sometimes that’s easier said than done. We get it. We are just like you and not exempt from the same current concerns.
Understand the Social Strains – Particularly in Teens
Children of all ages, just like adults, are highly social beings. They are accustomed to meeting face to face with their friends and classmates. Having these interactions abruptly terminated is a culture shock for them. This hits teenagers particularly hard because their primary relationships are more peer rather than parental oriented. Accept that your teenager may not be pleased with staying home and the extended, and possibly uninterrupted, parental company that goes with it. They may require extra patience more so than younger children. Fortunately our digital age allows video communications with relative ease. Most smartphones have at least one app that allows for concurrent audio and video transmissions. It may be a benefit to allow your children extra time to text and Facetime schoolmates and other friends. This keeps their social connections active.
Expert Divorce Lawyers in Las Vegas for You
If you believe your ex is taking advantage of the situation, our Nevada State Bar Board Certified Las Vegas divorce attorneys can help. Attorneys Jennifer V. Abrams and Vincent Mayo offer no charge courtesy phone consultations. We are here for you. Call our office at 702-222-4021 to learn how our divorce lawyers in Las Vegas can assist you.