KEY POINTS

  • Filing of lawsuits, including divorce, may be done via New York's e-filing system
  • Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence Marks said that the system will reopen on May 25
  • Some courthouses in the state have reopened for limited, in-person activities 

New Yorkers will be able to file new lawsuits and for divorce online beginning Monday (May 25), officials announced Wednesday.

Weeks following the court closures amid the coronavirus lockdown, Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence Marks said that New York State Courts Electronic Filing (NYSCEF) system will be restored in counties that do not qualify for the governor's reopening plan. Among these places are New York City's five boroughs and the counties of Dutchess, Nassau, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Suffolk, Sullivan, Ulster and Westchester.

“Beginning [Memorial Day], e-filing through the NYSCEF system — including the filing of new non-essential matters — will be restored in those counties of the state that have not yet met the benchmarks required to participate in the governor’s regional reopening plan,” Judge Marks' memo stated.

2248827161_d4a67de193_h New Yorkers seeking to file new lawsuits, including divorce, may do so online and avoid coronavirus risks beginning Memorial Day. Photo: Sharyn Morrow/Flickr

In late March, courts in New York placed a moratorium on the filing of new criminal or civil cases, which are not considered an emergency or essential matter, after several individuals who visited New York City's courthouses were infected with the coronavirus.

The courts then moved to the virtual platform for arraignments and settlements of 25,000 pending cases but there have been no new cases processed since the lockdown.

Meanwhile, courts in the upstate regions have resumed work amid measures to mitigate the risks of infection. At least six of the 13 judicial districts in the state are back to in-person operation as of May 18.

These include regions like Finger Lakes, Mohawk Valley, North Country and the Southern Tier. Finger Lakes, including Rochester, was the first judicial district to come up with specific reopening plans, including access to the courthouse for a limited number of people.

Plans to reopen the rest of New York's judicial districts will be made on a case-to-case basis.