Virtual Support Hearing Protocol
In advance of the Virtual Support Hearing, all participants should:
- Create a Zoom account at . No participant in a Virtual Support Hearing is required to have a paid license for Zoom. The Domestic Relations Section office holds licenses and will be the host for these hearings.
- Use their real name in setting up a Zoom account. Attorneys and self-represented parties must provide all names and email addresses to the Domestic Relations Section office in advance at VirtualSupportHearings-Montgomery@PACSES.com.
All participants should connect by both video and audio. The Zoom platform works on all smart phones, tablets, and computers, however, connection by computer is recommended. For participants who are unable to join with video, they will be able to join the Virtual Support Hearing by a telephone number that will be provided in the electronic invitation. Attorneys must show good cause for failure to appear by video.
All participants for the scheduled Virtual Support Hearing shall connect to the Virtual hearing room at least (15) minutes prior to the scheduled hearing start time. Be aware, that the hearing officers will be conducting multiple hearings each day in different Virtual Hearing Rooms.
When each participant joins a Virtual Support Hearing, they will initially appear in a Virtual Waiting Room. When the case is ready, the hearing officer will admit the attorneys and clients into the Virtual Hearing Room.
A Virtual Support Hearing is an official court proceeding. All counsel and participants shall observe all rules of decorum, civility, and ethics during Virtual Support Hearings. Everyone involved shall display respect for the dignity of the court by their conduct, language, and attire.
When each participant is admitted to the Virtual Hearing Room, the participant’s video will be on and their audio will be muted until the hearing begins. The Hearing Officer will retain the right to mute any microphone at any time during the hearing.
Participants are prohibited from using the Chat feature, texting or any other means of communication with other participants during the hearing. Attorneys may request an opportunity to confer with clients privately during the support hearing. Identify the client with whom you wish to confer by name. The Hearing Officer will send you into a confidential “breakout” room to confer with your client. You will then be invited back into the Virtual Hearing Room.
No participant is permitted to record or save any part of the proceedings in the Virtual Support Hearing. Recording is strictly prohibited under Pennsylvania law. Participants shall NOT record, duplicate, or save or photograph any audio, video, or image of any part of the proceeding.