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Bar News - January 18, 2013

Divorce & Parenting Cases: Judicial Assignments

The accompanying chart shows the judges and marital masters who will routinely hear divorce/parenting cases at each location in the first quarter of 2013.

These assignments reflect a 20 percent reduction in courtroom time as compared to the necessary court time based on case filings per location. Budgetary constraints have forced the reduction in court sessions and affect all divisions in the circuit court as well as the superior court.

Recognizing that judicial officer consistency is important in all cases and particularly so in family cases, these judicial assignments reflect an effort to have as few judicial officers as possible per location to meet the needs of families. Timely scheduling of all cases is especially challenging because of the 20 percent reduction in sessions and the number of judicial vacancies. However, in divorce/parenting cases, parties can expect a continued emphasis on the prompt scheduling of ex parte and other emergency matters; First Appearance (within 2 4 weeks of service); and Temporary Hearings (within 30 days of the request, if granted).

Lengthy contested matters will not be heard as promptly as they had been before budgetary constraints; however the circuit court remains committed to completing these matters as promptly as possible. At a minimum, a lengthy contested divorce/parenting case should receive either a lead or back-up hearing date within six months of the request, with shorter hearings to be scheduled more promptly. Moving forward, if this is not your experience please contact the clerk of the specific court or Gina Apicelli.

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