COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

The Supreme Judicial Court and Trial Courts have issued multiple orders and announcements regarding court operations while COVID-19 poses a serious threat to public health. All Court Orders are listed on the Pandemic Management Orders page. Please visit that page to review the specifics of the orders and the most up-to-date information.

Phased Re-Opening Plan for the Courts

The Judicial Branch has released the State of Maine Judicial Branch COVID-19 Phased Management Plan. The plan creates a five-phased process for reopening Maine Courts and is based on the most recent scientific data available from the Maine Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention and stakeholder input. Read the Plan.

For guidance on court proceedings while the current public health pandemic remains in effect, please review the following FAQs. These FAQs will be updated as the situation evolves and new questions arise.    

On this page:

  • Courthouse Operations
  • Case Proceedings
  • Depositions
  • Video Remote Proceedings
  • Child Protections Matters
  • Family Matters
  • Protection from Abuse and Harassment
  • Court Filings
  • Jury Trials
  • Payment of Court Fines and Fees
  • Courthouse Operations

    1.  Who should go to the courthouse?
    You should go to a courthouse only if you are required to be there, or if you are seeking protection from abuse or harassment.

    Persons identified as being infected by COVID-19, having had contact with those infected by COVID-19, or having visited areas identified as problematic due to the prevalence of COVID-19 should not come to Maine’s courthouses.

    If you have questions about whether you should go to a courthouse, please call 207-753-2999. For general inquiries concerning the Judicial Branch's response to the COVID-19 outbreak, contact info@courts.maine.gov.

    2. Am I required to wear a mask at the courthouse?
    Yes, if you enter any courthouse, you will be required to wear a mask or cloth face covering that covers your nose and mouth at all times while you are in the courthouse.

    3.  Where can I find courthouse hours of operation?
    Most courthouses are open from 8:00am to 4:00pm. Please contact your local courthouse or call 207-753-2999 to confirm hours of operation.

    4.  What safety precautions are being taken at the courthouses to keep the public safe?
    During this public health emergency, the Judicial Branch is focused on keeping employees and those members of the public who come to the court healthy and safe. Safety measures have been implemented to reduce the number of people in our facilities.

    • While the courts remain open, some non-emergency and contested family matters cases are not being scheduled and heard until later in the summer, unless otherwise ordered by a court.
    • Heightened cleaning practices have been implemented at all facilities.
    • Video and audio hearings and other court events are taking place. 
    • Filing by email is permitted for certain documents in cases that are being scheduled and heard during the judicial emergency.
    • Maximum occupancy guidelines are being enforced, limiting the number of people that may be allowed in a courtroom at any one time to 10 (not including court personnel).
    • Social distancing measures are in place, requiring all members of the public to stay at least 6 feet apart at all times in the courthouse.
    • Visitor screening protocols and restrictions have been put in place at all courthouses to reduce exposure to COVID-19.
    • Face masks or a cloth face covering are required to be worn by court staff and members of the public.
    • Additional protocols have been developed to protect employees and the public in the event of COVID-19 exposure at a courthouse.

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    Case Proceedings

    1. What case types have been cancelled or postponed?
    Court Order PMO-SJC-1 provides that, effective immediately, and continuing through August 3, 2020, unless otherwise ordered by a court, the following case types and proceedings WILL NOT be scheduled or heard:

    • FED eviction, landlord/tenant) except for Writs of Possession as provided by the Governor’s Executive Order Number 40, dated April 16, 2020
    • Disclosures
    • Foreclosures
    • Small Claims
    • Violations Bureau

    2. Are Medical Malpractice panel proceedings allowed to be conducted?
    Medical Malpractice Screening Panels conducted pursuant to 24 M.R.S. § 2851, et seq., may continue subject to conditions and procedures required by panel chairs with the limitations that the panel proceedings will not be conducted in courthouses or on Judicial Branch properties until further order and all deadlines associated with medical malpractice panel proceedings are controlled by PMO-SJC-2.

    3. Are the courts hearing eviction (FED) cases?
    For the most part district courts will not start hearing evictions (FEDs) until August 3 and later, although a complaint may be filed now.

    4. Will the court consider hearing an eviction case before August 3?
    Yes, if there is an emergency in the case that presents “urgent and compelling” reasons for the case to be heard sooner, you may file a motion that the case be heard before August 3. See PMO-SJC-1 and the Judicial Branch COVID-19 Phased Management Plan for more information.

    5. Are tenants excused from paying rent during this period?
    No, all rent remains due and payable unless the landlord and tenant have agreed otherwise.

    6. What if my eviction case was heard before March 18, 2020?
    If a plaintiff prevailed in an eviction hearing that took place prior to March 18, the Governor has ordered that writs of possession will not be issued except in certain limited circumstances. For more details, please see Executive Order #40. A writ of possession is required for an FED judgment to be enforced.

    7. What case types are being scheduled and heard by the court?
    Effective immediately, the courts MAY schedule and hear all other case types and proceedings so long as all hearings, conferences, and other court events take place only by video or audio conference. In scheduling hearings, conferences, and other court events, the courts will continue to allocate judicial resources in such a manner that the following cases receive priority for scheduling and hearings:

    • Motions for review of bail of defendants held in custody
    • Arraignments and first appearance of defendants held in custody
    • UCD plea agreements for defendants in custody
    • UCD probation revocation hearings for defendants in custody
    • UCD dispositional conferences for defendants in custody
    • Juvenile detention hearings 
    • Uncontested gestational carrier hearings
    • Uncontested divorce and judicial separation hearings
    • Uncontested parental rights and responsibilities hearings
    • Uncontested parentage hearings
    • Telephonic case management, status conference, and Rule 26(g) discovery conferences in family matters
    • Protection from Abuse requests and hearings
    • Protection from Harassment requests and hearings
    • Child Protection petitions and proceedings
      • Summary Preliminary Hearings, Jeopardy Hearings, uncontested hearings on termination of parental rights, and uncontested hearings on PR&R orders 
    • Uncontested child support, child support modification, and child support enforcement actions
    • Mental health requests and hearings
    • Emergency guardianships
    • Uncontested adoptions 
    • Petitions for Review concerning Control of Notifiable Diseases (22 M.R.S. §820) 

    See Court Order PMO-SJC-1 for more information.

    8. What if I have an emergency and need a judge to hear my case and issue an order?
    If you have an emergency in any case, you may file a motion clearly listing urgent and compelling reasons for the case to be heard.  This motion must be served on the opposing party or parties. Any party objecting to the motion, must file a written opposition within three days after the motion is filed. See Court Order PMO-SJC-1 for more details.

    9. What do I do if my case has been postponed or cancelled?
    Cases that have been postponed or cancelled under Court Order PMO-SJC-1 will be rescheduled at a later date. You will be notified by the court when the case has been rescheduled. 

    10. Is the Supreme Judicial Court hearing oral arguments?
    Yes. All oral arguments scheduled before the Supreme Judicial Court, sitting as the Law Court, are being conducted either by video conferencing or addressed by the Court without oral arguments. See Court Order PMO-SJC-1.

    11. What will happen with non-courtroom related activities, such as mediations, depositions, and other discovery (and deadlines associated therewith)?

    After June 1, 2020, all discovery and other deadlines are governed by the Maine Rules of Court.

    12. Will the Court consider extending Statutes of Limitations and other statutorily-imposed deadlines (such as Notices of Claim under the Liquor Liability Act and Maine Tort Claims Act)? 
    No. Court Order PMO-SJC-2(C) does not extend any statutory requirements or deadlines, including but not limited to, statutes of limitations and statutory deadlines for appeals of governmental actions and decisions.

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    Depositions

    1. Does PMO-SJC-2(F), promulgated on June 5, 2020, really require that all depositions be done remotely?
    Yes.  The first paragraph of PMO-SJC-2(F) states:

    All depositions shall be conducted via remote means, i.e., in a manner that allows for the deponent, all other persons entitled to attend (including the parties, counsel for the parties, counsel for the deponent), and all other necessary persons (e.g., a court reporter) to participate in the deposition without attending in person, unless all persons referenced in this paragraph agree to conduct the deposition in person.

    (Emphasis added.)  As the Order clearly decrees, attorneys will not be permitted to conduct in-person depositions unless all persons involved in the deposition—counsel, witness, parties, and reporter—agree that the deposition need not be conducted remotely.  The word "allows" refers to the functionality of the video platform to provide all persons to participate remotely.

    2. Does a lawyer who wishes to notice depositions to be conducted in person have to file a notice for a remote deposition and file an objection to his own notice to present the issue to the court?
    No. As noted above, a lawyer may not, during the pendency of the Pandemic Management Order, without the acquiescence of all parties (witnesses, counsel and reporter), conduct a deposition other than by remote means. No deviation from this rule is permissible without prior leave of court upon motion addressed to the presiding judicial officer.

    3. Can a lawyer be in the same room with her client during a deposition?
    Nothing in the PMO prevents a lawyer being present in the same room as the client during a deposition.
    4. How is the oath administered to a witness if a deposition is taken remotely, using audio and/or video technology?
    Under Court Order PMO-SJC-2, the person before whom the deposition is taken is authorized, under temporary rules, to administer oaths and take testimony remotely, so long as that person can both see and hear the deponent via audio-video communication equipment or technology for purposes of positively identifying the deponent.

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    Video and Audio Remote Proceedings

    1. Do the courts have plans to conduct hearings remotely, either telephonically or via video, if social distancing continues?
    See the answer to question 2. under Case Proceedings and PMO-SJC-1 and PMO-SJC-3. Requests for conferences or hearings to be conducted by telephone or video may be permitted in certain case types that are being scheduled or heard by the court. See PMO-SJC-3. Currently video proceedings are taking place in some courthouses but are not yet available statewide. The Judicial Branch is working to increase the capacity for video proceedings.

    2. What is general protocol for video conferences with a court? What does the court expect generally? If it’s a hearing, do I stand when I address the court? Can I appear in sweats?
    Maine Supreme Court Order PMO-SJC-3 lists the case types for which telephone or video proceedings may be permitted. Parties may file a motion to request that a conference or hearing be conducted by telephone or video. Regular courtroom decorum shall apply in all conferences and hearings.

    3. How is the oath administered to a witness if a deposition is taken remotely, using audio and/or video technology?
    Under Court Order PMO-SJC-2, the person before whom the deposition is taken is authorized, under temporary rules, to administer oaths and take testimony remotely, so long as that person can both see and hear the deponent via audio-video communication equipment or technology for purposes of positively identifying the deponent.

    4. Is the court planning to expand telephone and video hearings?
    Revised PMO-SJC-1 provides that courts MAY schedule and hear other case types except for the case types specifically postponed. (See the answer to question 1. under Case Proceedings.) The court is continuing to explore the feasibility of a number of modified court procedures. Any changes to existing procedures will be announced on the Judicial Branch’s website. See the Pandemic Management Orders page.

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    Child Protection Matters

    1. How will child protection matters be handled?
    Child protection hearings, including Summary Preliminary Hearings, Jeopardy Hearings, uncontested hearings on termination of parental rights, and uncontested hearings on PR&R orders, are being scheduled and heard by the courts. Hearings will be held in person or by video, as determined by the court. In addition, with approval of the court, some witnesses may be heard by video or audio (telephone). See PMO-SJC-3 and PMO-TC-1 for more details.

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    Family Matters

    1. How will child protection matters be handled?
    Child protection hearings, including Summary Preliminary Hearings, Jeopardy Hearings, uncontested hearings on termination of parental rights, and uncontested hearings on PR&R orders, are being scheduled and heard by the courts. Hearings will be held in person or by video, as determined by the court. In addition, with approval of the court, some witnesses may be heard by video or audio (telephone). See PMO-SJC-3 and PMO-TC-1 for more details.
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    Family Matters

    1. How will family matters, including issues involving child support and visitation, be handled?
    On May 27, 2020, the Maine Judicial Branch issued a COVID-19 Phased Management Plan that explains the phases the court plans to follow to resume all court activities. Please note that the dates included in the plan could change and this FAQ will be updated if that happens.

    Under the Phased Management Plan, family matters will be scheduled as follows:

    1. Before July 6, 2020

    All family matters cases may be scheduled and heard so long as they can take place by video or audio conference with one exception: hearings on motions for emergency guardianship of a minor may be scheduled and heard in person. The courts will prioritize the scheduling and hearing of the following family matters cases:

    1. Uncontested divorce and judicial separation hearings
    2. Uncontested parental rights and responsibilities hearings
    3. Uncontested parentage hearings
    4. Telephonic case management, status conference, and Rule 26(g) discovery conferences in family matters
    5. Uncontested child support, child support modification, and child support enforcement actions
    6. Uncontested gestational carrier hearings
    7. Uncontested adoptions
    8. Emergency guardianship of a minor

    A party may file a motion setting forth urgent and compelling reasons for a matter to be heard before July 6, 2020. Such a motion must be served on the opposing party. More details on "urgent motions" may be found in PMO-SJC-1.

    • Starting on July 6, 2020

    The courts MAY schedule and conduct in-person hearings in all family matters, subject to the availability of judicial resources and the need to address priority cases. Even though the court may schedule in-person hearings, the courts will continue to schedule cases for video or telephonic proceedings whenever possible as this will remain the preferred format.

    2. Do I have to follow my court order regarding parent-child contact during the COVID-19 outbreak?
    The Emergency Court Orders in effect have not suspended court orders regarding parent-child contact. This means that the spread of COVID-19, in and of itself, is not a reason to deny parenting time. Parents should try to set aside personal differences, try to agree on what is best for all involved including following CDC guidelines on protecting family from COVID-19 illness, and try to maintain a positive relationship with the child. If following the parent-child contact order presents a considerable risk for someone, parents may want to seek legal advice. For $25, the Maine Lawyer Referral Service will connect you with an attorney in your area to do a 30-minute consultation. For more information, please visit: https://mainebar.community.lawyer/.

    3. Is in-state travel that is required in order to comply with a court order of parent-child contact allowed under the Governor’s Stay Healthy at Home Directive?
    Paragraph 6 of the Governor’s Stay Healthy at Home Directive provides that "essential personal activities" include "[t]ravel required by a law enforcement officer or court order." (Emphasis added.) The Governor’s directive may be found here. Currently, there is no guidance that would prohibit parents from traveling in state to comply with a court order of parent-child contact.

    4. What if I cannot reach an agreement with the other parent regarding our parent-child contact during the COVID-19 outbreak and need the court to enforce or modify my court order of parental rights and responsibilities?
    Under Emergency Order PMO-SJC-1, the court is not prioritizing the scheduling of contested family proceedings. However, if you believe that there are urgent and compelling reasons that the court should hear your case, you can file a written motion requesting that hearing. Such a motion must be served on the opposing party. More details on "urgent motions" may be found in PMO-SJC-1. If possible, you should seek legal advice from an attorney to help decide what you should do. For $25, the Maine Lawyer Referral Service will connect you with an attorney in your area to do a 30-minute consultation. For more information, please visit: https://mainebar.community.lawyer/.

    5. What if the public place for our parenting time exchange is closed?
    Parties should review their parental rights and responsibilities order or consult with their attorney concerning exchanges. During the exchange of the child(ren), all parties should follow the CDC guidelines for limiting the spread of the virus, which may mean, if possible, choosing an alternate location for the exchanges that has fewer people congregating and less touching of public items (e.g., moving exchanges from a restaurant to a grocery store parking lot).

    6. Will I still have supervised parenting time during the COVID-19 outbreak?
    Supervised parenting time services provided by an agency have likely suspended in-person services during the state of emergency. Some agencies may provide video or teleconference visitations. If you have a court order for supervised parenting time by an agency, you should contact that agency to confirm the level of services currently provided.
    If your parenting time is supervised by a family member or friend who is still able to supervise, it can continue if safely possible. If your supervisor is unable to supervise, try to reach an agreement with the other parent for a different person to supervise.
    If the parenting plan states that parenting time will occur in a public place, parenting time should continue at locations that are permitted under Governor Mills’s order and in accordance with health and safety guidelines, such as a large park.
    If you believe that following these orders and guidelines is not possible, you may want to seek legal advice. For $25, the Maine Lawyer Referral Service will connect you with an attorney in your area to do a 30-minute consultation. For more information, please visit: https://mainebar.community.lawyer/.

    7. What free or low cost technology options exist for virtual parent-child contact?
    If you would like to consider virtual parent-child contact, here are some options:

    1. Zoom - Video Calling
    2. Facetime - Video Calling
    3. Whatsapp - Video Calling, Text Messaging
    4. Skype - Video Calling, Text Messaging
    5. Google Hangouts - Text Messaging, Video Calling
    6. Duo - Video Calling
    7. Facebook Messenger - Video Calling, Text Messaging
    8. Google Voice - Cloud Based Phone Number
    9. Marco Polo
    10. GoToMeeting

    8. How will interviews with children and families by guardians ad litem be handled?
    Any contact or interviews required or permitted in court proceeding or process related to Titles 18-C, 19-A, 22, or any other similar statute, shall be interpreted to include contact by video or telephone.

    9. Can mediations in family matters cases be conducted remotely?
    The courts have resumed mediation in family matters. Mediations will occur by video using Zoom or via telephone conference call. Parties will learn more about these options when they speak with the judge or magistrate about mediation. Parties who are scheduled for virtual mediation will receive a scheduling notice from the court with the date of the mediation and instructions for participation.

    10. Can I get certified copies of my court order during this time?
    Yes, a party may obtain copies of a court order by calling the clerk’s office. The clerk’s office can take payment over the phone and send the copies by mail. A directory of the phone numbers for clerk offices can be found here.

    11. What other resources are available?
    If you are a victim of violence, abuse, or harassment and believe you are in immediate danger, call 9-1-1.
    If you are worried for yourself or for someone else, please consider contacting the following resources:

    1. Statewide Domestic Abuse Helpline: 1-866-834-HELP (free and confidential). Hearing impaired line: 1-800-437-1220.
    2. Statewide Sexual Assault Helpline: 1-800-871-7741 (free and confidential)

    Each of these resources will connect you with an advocate in your community.

    1. Maine Lawyer Referral Service ($25 for a 30-minute consultation): https://mainebar.community.lawyer/
    2. Volunteer Lawyers Project: to ask a family law question, go to https://maine.freelegalanswers.org

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    Protection from Abuse and Harassment Orders

    To help limit community transmission of COVID-19, Maine Judicial Branch courthouse hours have been reduced statewide, but courts are continuing to hear requests for temporary and final protection from abuse or protection from harassment orders. You can still request a protection from abuse or protection from harassment order.

    1. What are my options for filing documents in a protection from abuse/harassment case?

    Type of Filing

    Options for Filing

    • Complaints for protection from abuse;
    • Motion to dissolve temporary order;
    • Motion to amend or terminate an order of protection;
    • Motion to extend an order of protection;
    • Motion to continue; or
    • Motion for hearing to be held by video or phone
    • By email;
    • In person at the courthouse; or
    • By mailing to the courthouse

     

    • All other filings
    • In person at the courthouse; or
    • By mailing to the courthouse

    2. How do I ask for a protection order or an extension of my protection order IN PERSON?

    Download and complete the protection from abuse packet here.

    Download and complete the packet for a motion to extend protection from abuse order here.

    Visit the court website here to see when your local courthouse is open before going to the court. You can also call the court clerk’s office for the district court serving the town where you live to make sure that the courthouse is open before you go to the court and, if you are seeking a temporary order, find out when your request can be heard by a judge.

    3. What do I do if I want to file a request for a protection order or a motion to extend in person at the courthouse, but my local court is closed?
    If this happens, you may go to another open district court to file your case. The open court will accept your filing, a judge in that court will review your complaint or motion to extend, and issue a temporary order or extend your protection order, if appropriate. You will then be scheduled for a final hearing at your local court.

    4. What if I go to the courthouse to file a request for a protection order or a motion to extend in person at the courthouse, but I cannot enter the courthouse due to health risks?
    If you go to the courthouse but cannot enter, the marshals will provide the paper packet to you at the door and will accept it upon completion. Instead of signing your documents in front of the clerk for notarization, you will need to provide a safe phone number and the court will call you from the courtroom and take your oath on the record. If you do not a safe phone number to provide, please let the marshal know so the court can assist you.

    5. How do I ask for a protection order or an extension of my protection order BY MAIL?
    You can mail your completed protection from abuse, protection from harassment, or motion to extend packet to the court. Please note that your signature will have to be notarized before you mail your complaint or motion to extend. This means that if you want to mail your filing to the court, you will need to sign some of the forms in the packet in front of a notary before mailing the packet to the court.

    WARNING: Although you can mail your filing to the court, you will need to provide a safe phone number on your complaint or motion to extend so that the court can call you in case the court has questions. If you do not answer your phone, your request for a temporary protection order may be denied without you having a chance to speak to a judge.

    6. How do I ask for a protection from ABUSE order or an extension of my protection from ABUSE order BY EMAIL?

    Download and complete the protection from abuse packet here.

    Download and complete the packet for a motion to extend protection from abuse order here.

    Carefully read the instructions and warnings on form PA-027:

    • The form explains how to email your filing to the correct court.
    • The form also tells you the email address to use for submitting your protection from abuse complaint or motion to extend.
    • You will not have to notarize the forms before emailing them to the court.
    • You do not need a printer or scanner to file these forms by email. The forms can all be completed online without printing and do not need to be signed.

    Once the court receives your filing, the clerk will email you to schedule a time for you to call the court to take your oath on the record by phone and, when necessary, for the judge to ask any follow up questions raised by your filing.

    WARNING: Just filing a complaint or motion to extend by email does not mean you are automatically protected. An email filing is not complete until the court has taken your oath by telephone. Also, after you have filed a judge must review your filing and, if appropriate, decide to grant a temporary order or temporarily extend your existing protection order.

    7. How do I ask for a protection from HARASSMENT order or an extension of my protection from HARASSMENT order BY EMAIL?
    You CANNOT file a complaint for a protection from harassment by email. You will need to either go in person to the courthouse (see question 2) or mail your filing (see question 5).
    You CAN file a motion to extend a protection from harassment order by email.

    • You must sign the form before emailing.
    • You must also write the following language on the form before filing by email: "I certify that there are good grounds to support this pleading, that it complies with PMO-SJC-3, and that it is not being filed to cause any delay." This language must be followed by an “/s/” signature line containing the printed name of the filing party/attorney.
    • You must sign the motion to extend before a notary before emailing it to the court.
    • You must email the motion to the court that issued your original order. To get the email address of your court, please call 207-753-2999.

    8. Other than a complaint for protection from abuse or a motion to extend a protection order, what are the other motions or requests that the court is accepting by email in protection from abuse or harassment cases?
    The parties may also file the following types of motions (requests) by email:

    • Motion to dissolve temporary order;
    • Motion to amend or terminate an order of protection;
    • Motion to continue; or
    • Motion for hearing to be held by video or phone.

    To file these forms by email, you are required to do the following:

    • You must sign the motion before emailing.
    • You must also write the following language on the form before filing by email:

     “I certify that there are good grounds to support this pleading, that it complies with PMO-SJC-3, and that it is not being filed to cause any delay.” This language must be followed by an “/s/” signature line containing the printed name of the filing party/attorney.

    • If required on the form, you must notarize the motion before emailing it to the court.
    • You must email the motion to the court that issued your original order. To get the email address of your court, please call 207-753-2999.

    9. If my complaint or motion is one that is accepted by email (see question 1), can I email it at any time?

    WARNING: You CANNOT file a complaint for a protection from HARASSMENT by email. You will need to either go in person to the courthouse (see question 2) or mail your filing (see question 5).

    10. What do I do if I do not have access to a computer?
    If you do not have access to a computer, the forms are available at each district court. Call the district court clerk’s office for the town where you live to make sure that the courthouse is open before you go to the court and, if you are seeking a temporary order, find out when your request can be heard by a judge.

    11. Can I get help completing the forms?
    If you need help completing the court forms, call the domestic violence or sexual assault agency in your region. For a complete list of each agency by region, please call the statewide domestic abuse helpline or the statewide sexual assault helpline to be connected to a local advocate (see phone numbers provided at question 14).

    12. Do I have to go to the courthouse if I reach an agreement with the other party?
    If the parties reach an agreement in the protection from abuse or harassment case, either party can request that the court conduct an uncontested hearing by telephone or video to place the agreement on the record so that the parties do not have to go to the courthouse in person.

    WARNING: If the court has issued a temporary order of protection, the defendant cannot have contact with the plaintiff to negotiate an agreement. If parties need assistance in attempting to reach an agreement, the parties should hire attorneys or the plaintiff should contact a domestic violence or sexual assault advocate (see statewide helpline phone numbers provided at question 14).

    13. How do I learn more about the process for protection from abuse and harassment cases?
    To learn more, please review the court’s "Guide to Protection from Abuse and Harassment Cases." You can access this guide on the court’s website here, or request a copy from the clerk at the courthouse.

    14. What other resources are available?

    • If you are a victim of violence, abuse, or harassment and believe you are in immediate danger, call 9-1-1.
    • If you are worried for yourself or for someone else, please consider contacting the following resources that are free and confidential and that will connect you to an advocate.
    • An advocate is a trained person who can:
      • Give information about protection orders and help you understand what happens in court
      • Help with court paperwork and find legal help
      • Give you support and information
      • Help with other services like housing, counseling, support groups, and mental health help
      • Help with safety planning • Provide information on how to file if you are under 18

    • To learn more, please review the court’s "Guide to Protection from Abuse and Harassment Cases." You can access this guide on the court’s website here, or request a paper copy from the clerk at the courthouse. The guide contains information for both plaintiffs and defendants.
    • Maine Lawyer Referral Service ($25 for a 30-minute consultation with an attorney).
    • Maine Adult Protective Services arranges for services to protect incapacitated and dependent adults (age 18 and over) in danger of abuse, neglect or exploitation. The adult abuse hotline number: 1-800-624-8404 or Maine Relay 711.
    • Maine Child and Family Services in the Department of Health and Human Services protects children from abuse and neglect. The 24-hour hotline to report suspected abuse or neglect is 1-800-452- 1999 or Maine Relay 711.

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    Court Filings

    1. Are court filings still being accepted?
    Yes. Courts are open and are accepting filings in all case types.

    2. Will I need to go to a courthouse to file motions or other court documents?
    No. Filings may be mailed to the courthouse just as they have always been. Email filings will be accepted in some very limited circumstances, as permitted by PMO-SJC-2 and PMO-SJC-3.

    3. Can I email documents to the court?
    Email filing of court documents is permitted for some very limited case types. 

    Supreme Judicial Court Order PMO-SJC-2 permits filing by email of all motions requesting the incarceration or the release of a criminal defendant. 

    Additionally, Supreme Court Order PMO-SJC-3 permits filing by email of some petitions, applications, complaints, motions, and reports in certain other case types that are currently being scheduled or heard by the Court. See PMO-SJC-3 for more details.

    4. What procedure should I follow when emailing filings to the court?
    Court Order PMO-SJC-3 sets out the procedure for emailing filings when permitted.

    All documents that are permitted to be filed by email must be sent to the clerk, Monday through Friday, between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. at the email address provided by the clerk and to opposing counsel, or if unrepresented by counsel, to the opposing party.

    All emailed filings must comply with the rules of civil procedure and applicable statutory requirements and deadlines and must include the following language in order to comply with M.R. Civ. P. 11(a): "I certify that there are good grounds to support this pleading, that it complies with PMO-SJC-3, and that it is not being filed to cause any delay." This language must be followed by an "/s/" signature line containing the printed name of the filing party/attorney.

    In addition to email, if utilized, a paper copy must be mailed to the court and to opposing counsel, or if unrepresented by counsel, to the opposing party.

    Any email received that is not in accordance with this order will be rejected by the Clerk, and no filing will have occurred. Repeated violations of this order may result in sanctions.

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    Jury Trials

    1. I received a notice for jury duty in June.  Do I need to report?
    No. Under Court Order PMO-SJC-1, all jury trials, civil and criminal, including grand jury proceedings, are postponed until after September 7, 2020. Grand jury proceedings are postponed until after July 6, 2020.

    If you are a litigant and your jury trial was scheduled between March 16 and June 30, 2020, your trial will be rescheduled, and you will receive notice of the new trial date in the future when jury trials resume.

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    Payment of Court Fines and Fees

    1. What does it mean that financial warrants have been vacated? Does it mean that I don’t have to pay my fine?
    By Order of the Trial Chiefs PMO-TC-1 any outstanding warrants for unpaid fines, unpaid restitution, unpaid court-appointed counsel fees, failure to appear for unpaid fine hearings, and any other failure to appear and pay other fees are vacated. Please understand, however, that these amounts remain due and payable. New warrants may issue at a later date if the amounts remain unpaid.

    2. Has an extension been granted for the payment of court fines?
    Yes. The due dates for payment of all fines, restitution, court fees, and reimbursement of court-appointed counsel fees has been extended to June 1, 2020, or to the ordered due date, whichever is later. See Court Order PMO-TC-1.

    3. Have deadlines been extended for traffic infractions?
    Yes. All deadlines established pursuant to M.R.Civ. P. 80F (traffic infractions), and set to expire on or before May 15, 2020, have been extended to June 1, 2020. See Court Order PMO-TC-1.

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