RI Family Court launching night court pilot program to address backlog in cases


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — After being postponed due to COVID-19, certain hearings will resume in Rhode Island Family Court, but with modifications.

The Rhode Island Judiciary announced Tuesday that it will be launching its own version of night court later this week to address a significant backlog in cases.

The two-night pilot program will include nine uncontested divorce hearings on Aug. 6, and another nine on Aug. 20. All will be held remotely.

“When I learned in early July that the earliest a couple could get a hearing on an uncontested divorce was November, that was unacceptable,” Chief Judge Michael Forte said. “We want to address the backlog, but we also want to take advantage of the remote hearing technology we have been using since this past spring and provide hearings during evening or non-working hours that are more convenient for many people.”

Once all 18 hearings are completed, Forte said he will assess the effectiveness. The sessions will be live-streamed on Forte’s YouTube channel beginning at 6:30 p.m. on both days.

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