MN Family Law Attorney

Review hearing at court.

Judge for Review Hearing

Many cases don’t need a review hearing.  However, sometimes active cases contain procedures that don’t fit definite timelines.  Custody evaluations are one example.  Therefore, it doesn’t always make sense to schedule formal hearings at a particular time.

Instead, the court can hold a review hearing.  This helps the judge learn:

  • Where the parties stand on the issues,
  • What’s been resolved through ADR processes or direct negotiation,
  • What are the next steps for moving the case along.

Review hearings can be a useful way for the parties to retain flexibility with how they proceed.  At the same time, they provide the judge a way to make sure the parties are nudged toward some outcome on the case.

Review hearings may be held in person or by phone conference.  In the case of a phone conference, typically only attorneys and the judge need to be on the call.

Typically a judge will not decide any new issues at the hearing unless there is a motion properly before the court or the parties agree to some change in what they’ve been doing.

Special Case: Six-Month Review Hearing

The review hearing typically occurs before the case has been decided and a divorce decree has been entered.  The 6-month review hearing is a notable exception to this.  This hearing is optional and designed to occur after a final decision has been made.

The six-month review hearing may involve two issues: Compliance with parenting time provisions of the order and whether child support is current.

In order to start the proceeding, either party only needs to submit a request for hearing form with the court.  This needs to be done within six months of the entry of the decree or order.

The process is designed to make it easy for one side to get back into court if the other party is not complying with the order.

If you have more questions, please review the links to the left, head back to the MN Family Law Attorney home , or visit Majeski Law .  If you’re interested in retaining an attorney, please feel free to email or call using the links in the upper right.

Allen and Spence Attorneys At Law

Custody Review Hearing

by Scott Allen | Feb 19, 2023 | Child Custody | 0 comments

Custody Review Hearing

Custody Review and Compliance Hearings

In many custody cases, the court will implement a custody review hearing strategy to ensure that the temporary custody and visitation plan that has been put in place stays on track and that the parties are complying with the court’s expectations .  

The hearings where these occur are often called “review hearings” or “compliance hearings” and they are very important.

The review hearing gives you as a parent the opportunity to show the court that you are doing what needs to be done.   Examples might be the completion of parenting classes, engaging in individual or family therapy, and substance abuse evaluation.   The most important element of any review hearing is to be able to show the court that any prior concerns about your parenting have been addressed and that you are working to be the best parent possible.

A review hearing also gives you an opportunity to show the court if the other parent is not being compliant with the prior order.     It is important to be able to compare and contrast your behavior to the other parent’s behavior and reinforce with the court and concerns that still exist about the other parent’s decision making and/or conduct.

Frequently the custody review hearing will arise in cases where there is an issue of Emergency Child Custody .  Generally, the circumstances that lead to an emergency filing are the kinds of facts the judge wants to monitor with subsequent review hearings.

What is the purpose of the review hearing?

Actually,  Reviews hearing allow attorneys to keep an eye on culprits who may be at high risk for reoffending . However, the attorneys involement in case ends when verdic come out. In court review hearings, prosecutors persist to play role until the convicted party has finished the sentence.

______________________________

Family law attorney Scott Allen handles thee kinds of cases every day and has over twenty-eight years of experience. If you have questions or need assistance call him at (919) 863-4183 or email at [email protected]

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what is a review hearing in family court

Family and Youth Justice Programs

Family and Youth Justice Programs

Transforming systems to promote thriving families and equitable court communities

Review Hearing

Commissioner Thurman W. Lowans 1

Chapter Sections

§1 Purpose Statement

Except for children whose cases are reviewed by a citizen review board under RCW Chapter 13.70, and except for dependency guardianships under RCW 13.34.235, the status of all children found to be dependent must be reviewed by the court at least every six months. 2

At all review hearings, the court is required to make findings as to compliance and progress concerning the parents, the child, and the supervising agency with respect to the services and case plan. The continued placement of the child, visitation, identification, and availability of reasonable and necessary services, medical and dental care for the child, and educational services for the child are but a few of the issues which may be addressed at the review hearing. Upon leaving a review hearing, the parties should have a clear understanding as to their compliance and progress, or lack thereof, as well as the direction of efforts to be made prior to the next scheduled review hearing.

A review hearing must be conducted by the court at least every six months from the beginning date of the placement episode or from the date the dependency was established, whichever is first. 3 The purpose of a review hearing is to review the progress of the parties and to determine whether court supervision should continue. It is important to note that following the establishment of a dependency, a case may not be dismissed unless the child has been returned home for at least six months. 4 There is nothing in the provisions of RCW Chapter 13.34 which precludes the court from scheduling review hearings on a schedule more frequently than every six months, and often the facts and circumstances of a given case will so warrant.

Uniquely, Washington State has dependency guardianships (RCW 13.34.232) which are not subject to the six month review requirements of other dependencies, unless otherwise ordered by the court. 5 Although a six month review hearing is not required for a dependency guardianship, good practice would direct a periodic review as deemed appropriate by the court to ensure the continued safety and viability of the guardianship.

§3 Ninety Day Review Requirement

The initial court review must be an in-court review within six months from the beginning of the placement episode or no more than 90 days from the entry of the disposition order, whichever comes first. 6 The initial review may be designated as a permanent planning hearing when necessary to meet the time frames of RCW 13.34.145(1)(a) or RCW 13.34.134. The court has the authority to schedule review hearings more frequently than every six months, which may often be appropriate, depending on the facts and circumstances of the case. Generally speaking, completion of all services ordered at the disposition hearing within the first 90 days is impossible. Arguably, the 90-day review hearing is a “report card” concerning compliance and progress as to parents, the child, and the supervising agency, as well as a basis for further refinement or modification of services as needed. The 90 Day Review mark is in reality more generally at six months or more from the date of removal, and a thorough evaluation of services, compliance and progress is both necessary and appropriate.

§4 Parties Present

All dependency hearings shall be public, unless the judge finds that it is in the best interests of the child to exclude the public. 7 Either parent, the child’s attorney or the Guardian ad Litem (GAL)/Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) may move the court to exclude the public. The Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS), however, may not seek to exclude the public.

Any party has the right to be heard at the review hearing. 8 Geography and other logistics may dictate many practical considerations in conducting a review hearing. Consequently, parents and others may appear by telephone, particularly when they are out of state or incarcerated. The dependency courtroom should always have a speaker phone with the technical ability to have multiple parties on the line during the hearing. Local Court Rules should not preclude a litigant’s right to be heard. “The fundamental requirement of due process is the right to be heard at a meaningful time and in a meaningful manner. [citations omitted]” 9

Persons Who Should Always Be Present:

  • Judge or Court Commissioner
  • Parents, including putative fathers, whose rights have not been terminated
  • Custodial Adults and Relatives with legal standing
  • Assigned Caseworker
  • Agency Attorney
  • Attorney or Attorneys for Parent(s)
  • Attorney for Child (if appointed)
  • Tribal Representative if it is an ICWA case

Persons Who May Also Be Needed:

  • Age appropriate children 10
  • Extended family members and relatives
  • Foster Parents – Relative placement 11
  • An Interpreter
  • Judicial case management staff
  • Therapists, Counselors, and other service providers
  • Domestic Violence Advocate
  • Adult or Juvenile probation or parole officer
  • Law Enforcement Officers
  • Security personnel
  • Other witnesses as may be identified

§5 Notice to Parties

All parties must be given notice of the review hearing by any means reasonably certain of notifying the party, including but not limited to, notice in open court, mail, personal service, telephone, and telegraph. 12 All parties have the right to be present and heard at the review hearing. 13

Notice of a review hearing concerning a child who has been found to be dependent and removed from the parental home must include an advisement that a petition to terminate the parent and child relationship may be filed. 14

§6 Notice to Foster Parent, Pre-Adoptive Parent, or Relative

DSHS is required to provide to the child’s foster parents, pre-adoptive parents, or other caregivers with notice of their right to be heard prior to each proceeding held with respect to a child in juvenile court. The rights to notice and to be heard apply only to persons with whom the child has been placed by DSHS and who are providing care to the child at the time of the hearing. Such persons are not granted party status solely by reason of the right of notice and to be heard. 15

Information from such caregivers may prove highly valuable to the court in considering issues such as visitation, health care, and educational issues concerning a child. If they appear in court, they should be acknowledged and invited to provide any information they may have. If logistics or other events preclude a personal appearance, the caregivers should be encouraged to participate telephonically if possible or to submit a written update to the court.

§7 Findings

The court shall make findings concerning both compliance and progress by the parties concerning services, moving forward towards permanence and whether or not reasonable efforts are being made under the plan. Note that in cases involving an Indian Child, the provisions of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) and the Washington State Indian Child Welfare Act (WSICWA) apply. Both statutes require active efforts rather than reasonable efforts, and active efforts are further defined within WSICWA. 16

DSHS is required to conduct monthly visits with children and caregivers unless the child’s placement is being supervised under a contract with a private agency accredited by a national child welfare accrediting entity. In that case, the private agency is required, within existing resources, to conduct the monthly visits with the child and caregiver and provide DSHS with a written report of the visits within 15 days of their occurrence. In cases where the monthly visits required are being conducted by a private agency, DSHS must conduct a face-to-face health and safety visit with the child at least once every 90 days. 17

§8 Review Order When the Child is Returned Home

A child shall not be returned home unless the court finds that the reason for removal per RCW 13.34.130 no longer exists. 18 The inquiry by the court, in short, is whether the child will be safe and whether circumstances have become sufficiently stable to maintain safety and mitigate or cure any damage suffered. DSHS will not make a recommendation to return a child home without first having conducted a child protective team (CPT) staffing. The decision to return the child is within the sound discretion of the court after consideration of all facts and circumstances presented, including the CPT recommendation. However, the court need not wait for a CPT recommendation if the court determines that the child should be returned home.

Prior to a child returning home, DSHS must complete home and background checks on all adults residing in the home and identify any persons who may act as a caregiver to determine if such persons are themselves in need of any services so as to ensure the safety of the child. 19

In any review hearing, whether the child is returned or not, the court is required to make findings as to compliance and progress by the parents, the child, and the supervising agency with the case plan and services specified in the plan. The court is also required to review the case plan and its services and make adjustments and modifications where appropriate given the facts and circumstances presented at the review hearing. (See § 19.9 below.) Services should be tailored to meet each individual parent’s needs in a timely manner. 20

Clearly, the return home of a child is always conditioned upon the continued safety and security of the child. RCW 13.34.138(3)(a) is clear that any return home of a child is expressly contingent upon the following:

  • Compliance by the parents with court orders relating to care and supervision of the child, including compliance with the case plan; and
  • Continued participation of the parents, if applicable, in available substance abuse or mental health treatment if substance abuse or mental illness was a contributing factor to the removal of the child.

A failure to comply and make progress with the agency case plan, including services for parents and the child, may result in the removal of the child. 21 RCW 13.34.138(3)(b) states that a child may be removed from the home for reason of any of the following:

  • Noncompliance by the parents with the agency case plan or court order;
  • The parent’s inability, unwillingness, or failure to participate in available services or treatment for themselves or the child, including substance abuse treatment if parent’s substance abuse was a contributing factor to the abuse or neglect; or
  • The failure of the parents to successfully and substantially complete available services or treatment for themselves or the child, including substance abuse treatment if a parent’s substance abuse was a contributing factor to the abuse or neglect.

If a dependent child is returned home and that child is later removed from the home (i.e., a second removal takes place), the court must conduct a review hearing within 30 days from the date of removal to determine whether the permanency plan should be changed, a termination petition should be filed, or other action is warranted. The best interests of the child shall be the court’s primary consideration. 22 It should be noted that the information available at such review hearings is often not substantially greater than was available when the dependent child was initially removed from the home, and therefore the scheduling of an early permanent plan hearing is appropriate.

§9 Review Order When the Child is Not Returned Home

  A wide range of issues may arise at a review hearing, irrespective of whether the child is returned home or not. In addition to findings as to compliance and progress by the parents, the child, and the supervising agency, considerable time and energy may be expended to review, clarify, or modify services and visitation. It is important to afford all parties, including the GAL/CASA, foster parents, relative placements, and service providers, the opportunity to be heard.

If a child is not returned at the review hearing, the court is required to establish in writing the projected date by which the child will be returned home or some other permanent plan of care for the child will be implemented, and the following:

  • Whether reasonable efforts have been made to provide services to the family and eliminate the need for placement of the child;
  • Whether there has been compliance with the case plan by the child, the child’s parents, and the agency supervising placement;
  • Whether progress has been made toward correcting the problems that necessitated placement out of the home;
  • Whether the services set forth in the plan and the responsibilities of the parties needs to be clarified or modified due to additional information or changed circumstances;
  • Whether there is a continuing need for placement;
  • Whether the child is in an appropriate placement which adequately meets all his or her physical, emotional, and educational needs;
  • Whether preference has been given to placement with the child’s relatives;
  • Whether both in-state and, where appropriate, out-of-state placements have been considered;
  • Whether the parents have visited the child and any reasons why visitation has not occurred or has been infrequent;
  • Whether the terms of visitation need to be modified;
  • Whether the long term permanent plan for the child as approved by the court remains the best plan for the child; and
  • Whether any additional court orders are needed to move the case forward toward permanency.

If a written review order is not prepared at the time of the review hearing, ensure that one shall be presented on or before a date certain. Also be sure to set the next review or permanent planning hearing within at least six months and possibly sooner, depending on the facts of the case.

§10 Court-Ordered Termination Petition

The decision to order DSHS to file a petition for termination of the parent-child relationship is normally made at the time of a permanent planning hearing following entry of a judgment by clear, cogent, and convincing evidence that the permanent plan for the child requires termination of parental rights. When ordering that a petition for termination be filed, it is good practice to specify a date by which such a petition is to be filed.

While RCW 13.34.138(2)(d) grants the court authority to order DSHS to file a petition for termination at the time of a review hearing, the criteria for issuing such an order are not stated. Presumably such an order would arise from a case involving aggravated circumstances as stated in RCW 13.34.132. DSHS is not required to develop a plan for services for the parent(s) or to provide services to the parent(s) if the court orders a termination petition to be filed. 23 Please refer to Chapter 18, Section 17, concerning aggravated circumstances.

§11 Extended Jurisdiction and Services for Children in Foster Care 24

A dependent child may remain subject to the court’s jurisdiction beyond his or her 18th birthday if he or she is eligible 25 and elects to receive extended foster care services authorized by RCW 74.13.031. Such jurisdiction may extend until the youth reaches the age of 21. The statute expressly provides that a youth 18 years or older shall not be deemed a child for any other purpose.

When a dependent child reaches the age of 18, the court shall postpone the dismissal of the dependency proceeding for six months if the youth is enrolled in a secondary education program or its equivalency on his or her 18th birthday. At the end of the six month period, the court shall dismiss the dependency if the youth has not requested extended foster care from DSHS. Parents are to be dismissed from the proceeding when the youth reaches age 18 as the youth is now otherwise an adult. Presumably, the GAL should also be dismissed as well on this basis. The court shall appoint an attorney for the youth, and review hearings must be conducted every six months concerning the continued safety, eligibility and overall progress of the youth in transitioning to full independence. The dependency is dismissed upon request of the youth or when the youth is no longer eligible for extended foster care services (i.e., the child turns 21 or ceases his or her enrollment in secondary education or its equivalent). 26

Download this chapter:  Chapter 19 – Review Hearing

  • Commissioner Thurman W. Lowans was appointed to the Kitsap County Superior Court in 1993 and is responsible for the Paternity calendar, Dependency calendar, Family Law motions calendar, Mental Commitment calendar, Domestic Violence calendar, Adoption calendar, Civil Contempt calendar, and the Ex Parte calendar. He established the position of Courthouse Facilitator for the Superior Court in 1993, and in 2001 he established a juvenile diversion program known as Youth Court where teens serve as judge, advocate, and jury in diversion cases. Commissioner Lowans graduated cum laude from Dartmouth College in 1972 and received his J.D. from Boston University School of Law in 1975. In 1996 he retired as a Commander with the JAG Corps of the U.S. Navy following 22 years of service in the Reserves. Commissioner Lowans was in private practice in Bremerton with Soriano, Soriano and Lowans for 15 years before his appointment to the Bench. His trial practice included felony defense, juvenile offenders and dependencies, domestic relations, real estate and probate. He served as Land Hearing Examiner for Kitsap County in 1992–1993 and as President of the Kitsap County Bar Association in 1993. Commissioner Lowans served on the Faculty of the Washington State Judicial College (2002–2007 and 2009–2011) as instructor concerning Dependencies, and served as the judicial representative to the Board of Directors of Washington State Court-Appointed Special Advocates (2002–2005).
  • See RCW 13.34.138.
  • RCW 13.34.138(1). See also RCW 13.34.145.
  • RCW 13.34.145(7).
  • RCW 13.34.235.
  • RCW 13.34.138(1)(a).
  • RCW 13.34.115(1).
  • In re the Dependency of R.L. and I.L ., 123 Wn. App. 215, 222, 98 P.3d 75 (2004).
  • There is no hard and fast age specified by statute (although during the 2008 session the Legislature considered making it mandatory). Each case is unique, and the court must make a judgment call.
  • This point indicates foster parents and relatives with whom the child is temporarily placed.
  • JuCR 3.9; JuCR 11.2.
  • RCW 13.34.096; RCW 74.13.280.
  • 25 U.S.C. § 1912(d); E.S.S.B. 5656, 62nd Leg., Reg. Sess. (Wash. 2011); Laws of 2011, ch. 309.
  • E.S.S.B. 6792, 60th Leg., Reg. Sess. (Wash. 2008).
  • RCW 13.34.138(2)(a).
  • RCW 13.34.138(2)(b).
  • In re S.J. , No. 26179-4-III, (Wn. App. Aug. 2, 2011).
  • Safe and adequate housing is often at the center of dependencies, and in cases in which a lack of adequate housing is the primary factor in the out-of-home placement of the child, the court has the authority to order DSHS to provide housing assistance in some form to the child and family. The nature of such services is within the discretion of DSHS, subject to findings by the court as to their reasonableness and adequacy. Washington State Coalition for the Homeless v. DSHS , 133 Wn.2d 894, 925, 949 P.2d 1291 (1997). Housing resources within a community will obviously vary widely across the state. Arguably, knowledge of those resources and being able to facilitate access to such resources is reasonable. The Legislature has responded to the Supreme Court’s mandate concerning housing by (1) limiting the court’s authority to cases in which homelessness or lack of adequate and safe housing is the primary reason for out-of-home placement, and (2) subjecting that authority to the availability of funds appropriated for this specific purpose. RCW 13.34.138(4).
  • RCW 13.34.138(3)(c).
  • RCW 13.34.136(2)(c).
  • See generally S.S.H.B. 1128, sec. 1, 62nd Leg., Reg. Sess. (Wash. 2011); Laws of 2011, ch. 330, sec. 1.
  • The youth remains eligible for these services until the age of 21 and while the youth is enrolled in secondary education or its equivalent, post secondary education, vocational education, program or activity designed to promote or remove barriers to employment, or engagement by the youth in employment for 80 hours or more per month. S.S.H.B. 1128, sec. 8.
  • S.S.H.B. 1128, sec. 7.

Click on each title to view the infographic created for that session.

April 2oth                    Judicial Leadership   

May 18th                      Docket Management 

June 15th                     ICWA Courts and Tribal Relations 

August 17th                Termination Settlement Conferences

September 21st          Guardianship

October 19th              Domestic Violence in Child Welfare Cases

November 16th          Recent WA Supreme Court Case Decisions

Ryan Murrey has been with the Washington CASA/Child Advocate State Association since 2000, save for 3 years when he worked for the King County Superior Court as their FJCIP specialist.  He received his Master’s degree in Organization Development from Seattle University in 2013, and his undergraduate degree in Geology form the College of Wooster.  During his current 10 years as executive director of the state association, Ryan has overseen the development of numerous technical assistance achievements for the statewide Child Advocate network, including the development of the 30 hour curriculum to train new title 13 guardians ad litem, creation of the “ICWA Institute” for volunteers and staff to gain additional certification in working with and for native American children in state court and has lead and curated multiple CASA/GAL program development seminars at the state, regional and local level.  Ryan also serves on numerous committees as the statewide CASA/Child Advocate representative, including the Supreme Court’s Commission on Foster Care, the statewide Family and Juvenile Court Improvement Committee and AOC Safety Framework team.

Doug Savelesky began working for DCYF in 1998 as a CPS investigator in the Yakima field office. In 2005 he became a supervisor and has supervised CPS, FVS, FRS, and CFWS. In 2012 he joined the statewide Central Case Review Team to evaluate social work practice and help improve outcomes across the state. In 2015 he became supervisor of the case review team and led the 2018 federal CFSR review. Since 2019 Doug has been the QA/CQI Administrator and oversees the work of the Central Case Review Team, Critical Incident Review Team, FFPSA quality assurance reviewers, and federal reporting of the CFSP, APSR, and Statewide Assessment for the CFSR.

Karrina Guilbault (she/her) is Program Counsel for the Office of Civil Legal Aid’s Children’s Representation Program.  Prior to joining OCLA, she was employed with the Spokane County Public Defender’s Office for close to a decade, advocating on behalf of children and youth in dependency and termination proceedings.  Karrina serves on various committees, and strives to utilize her knowledge and experience for systemic improvement and change.

Susan has worked with the AOC since 2006 and with the legal community for over twenty years.  She has experience working with all levels of court and with judicial officers, attorneys, and community providers.  Susan has supported the Supreme Court Commission on Children in Foster Care, Superior Court Judges’ Association, District and Municipal Court Judges’ Association, and associated boards, commissions, and committees.

Susan holds a bachelor’s of science degree in psychology from the University of Washington and legal assistant degree from Highline Community College.  Susan has also worked with Washington State’s Attorney General’s Office, Employee Assistance Program, and local crisis clinic.

Susan has a heart for children and families going through the dependency court system, and a passion to support those striving to improve the court system and outcomes for children and families. In her free time, Susan enjoys spending time with family and friends.  She and her husband enjoy traveling, gardening, walking, home improvement projects, and serving in their community.  Susan also loves working with people to improve health and finances, as she has seen firsthand how that can help transform lives and maintain healthy relationships.

Kelly has extensive experience working with courts, attorneys, social workers and community providers to improve outcomes for children and families involved in dependency court. Her work in the child welfare court system was as an attorney for parents and children, the manager of the King County Family Treatment Court, the coordinator of the Supporting Early Connections program and a youth attorney at TeamChild.

Drawing on her ability to reach across systems to meet the needs of children and families, Kelly has also consulted for nonprofit and government agencies, facilitating multi-disciplinary system improvement efforts such as the One Family One Team Court Pilot Committee and the Washington State Safe Babies Design Team. Early in her career, Kelly was an education policy analyst with the RAND Corporation and the University of Washington’s Center on Reinventing Public Education, and served as the first Legal Ombuds at the Washington State Office of the Education Ombuds. Kelly holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia and earned her law degree from New York University School of Law. She was the recipient of a Soros Justice Advocacy Fellowship from the Open Society Institute.

All 50 States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico participate in the federal Court Improvement Program (CIP) administered by the Children’s Bureau of the US Department of Health and Human Services. The grant program was established in 1994 as a response to the dramatic increase in child abuse and neglect cases and the expanded role of courts in achieving stable, permanent homes for children in foster care. Under the original grants, the recipients completed a detailed self-assessment, developed recommendations to improve the juvenile court system and worked towards implementing the recommended reforms. The Promoting Safe and Stable Families Amendments of 2001 reauthorized the Court Improvement Program through federal fiscal year 2006. The scope of the program is now expanded to (1) include improvements that recipients deem necessary to provide for the safety, well-being and permanence of children in foster care, as set forth in the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 (ASFA); and (2) implement a corrective action plan, as necessary, in response to findings identified in a child and family services review of the State’s child welfare system. For more information on Court Improvement Programs nationally, please click here.

Jasmine Hodges has been working for Department of Children, Youth and Family Services in Washington State since 2013.  She has a Bachelor’s of Arts in Psychology from Seattle University and a Masters in Counseling from Webster University, Geneva Switzerland.  Jasmine has worked as a child protective services case worker, investigations, family assessment response and family voluntary services supervisor, program manager of dependency courts and a quality practice specialist coaching and supporting practice improvement.  Jasmine is currently the statewide program manager for child safety at DCYF. Previously to working for the Department Jasmine was a practicing play therapist and behavioral specialized in the international school system in Geneva, Switzerland.

Robert Wyman is an attorney consultant with the Judicial Engagement Team of Casey Family Programs, currently working in Maricopa County Juvenile Court in Arizona to further the goal of safely reducing the number of children and youth in the foster care system. Rob is also former Co-Director of the Court Improvement Training Academy (CITA) at the Washington State Administrative Office of the Courts where he worked with judges, commissioners, court staff, attorneys, social workers, CASA and other stakeholders in child welfare. Rob spent five years after college working in the juvenile corrections systems in Washington and Oregon States in many capacities. He then went to the University of Denver to attain an MSW and JD, specializing in the representation of children and youth in the foster care system. After graduation, Rob worked at The Defender Association in Seattle for 12 years, and supervised attorneys representing parents and youth in the dependency division for eight years.

Contact Laura Vogel, at [email protected] to learn more about

bringing harm of removal training to your court community.

As the Statewide Family and Juvenile Court Improvement (FJCIP) Coordinator for the Administrative Office of the Courts’ Family & Youth Justice Programs, Jenn coordinates the support of the local FJCIP Programs throughout the state.  Previously, Jenn was employed by Kitsap County Juvenile and Family Court as their local FJCIP Coordinator.  Providing support to their local dependency community for court improvement.  Prior to that role Jenn held various roles within the Juvenile Court system from Juvenile Detention Officer, Juvenile Treatment Court Case Monitor, and BECCA Truancy Officer.  Jenn holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington in Sociology, Law Society and Social Policy.  She has wealth of knowledge in the court systems in Washington and facilitating cross-system court improvement projects.

Laura is the CIP Co-Director & Training Specialist for the Administrative Office of the Courts’ Family & Youth Justice Programs.  She coordinates training opportunities for judicial officers and court partner, along with facilitating cross-systems court improvement efforts. Prior to working for AOC, Laura was employed by Thurston County Superior Court as the Family Recovery Court Coordinator, and subsequently as the Safe Babies Court Community Coordinator. Laura holds bachelor’s degree from North Dakota State University and a Master of Public Administration degree from Kent State. Laura is a Certified Trauma Support Specialist and is a board member for HeartStrides Therapeutic Horsemanship.

Originally from the Midwest, Laura’s early career involved coordinating specialty criminal domestic violence courts and high-risk lethality teams. She spearheaded the effort that resulted in the implementation of the first domestic violence court program in the state of North Dakota. She has a wealth of experience in facilitating cross-system court improvement projects and strives to bring creativity and authenticity into her work. She also brings expertise in group facilitation, project management, judicial officer education, graphic design, and online course development.

Presenters:

Geene Delaplane, Department of Children, Youth & Families

Renatta Watson, Department of Children, Youth & Families

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Taila Ayay, ABC Law Group & F.I.R.S.T. Clinic

Adam Ballout, ABC Law Group & F.I.R.S.T. Clinic

Neil Weiss, ABC Law Group & F.I.R.S.T. Clinic

Jennifer Justice, F.I.R.S.T. Clinic

Gina Wassemiller,  F.I.R.S.T. Clinic

Dee Alexander, Department of Children, Youth & Families

Jennifer Cooper, Department of Children, Youth & Families

Jacob D’Annunzio, Office of Public Defense Parent Representation Program

Tarassa Froberg, Department of Children, Youth & Families

Jasmine Hodges, Department of Children, Youth & Families

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Drew Pugsley, Assistant Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General

Jeffrey Adams, Training Coordinator, Office of Civil Legal Aid

Marci Comeau, Managing Attorney, Office of Public Defense Parent Rep. Program

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Kelly Warner-King, Program Manager, AOC (Moderator)

Tara Urs, Managing Attorney, King County Office of Public Defense

Laurie Lippold, Director of Public Policy, Partners for Our Children

Carla Arnold, Executive Director, Youthnet NW

Erin Shea McCann, Director of Policy, Legal Counsel for Youth and Children

Shrounda Selivanoff, Social Services Manager, Office of Public Defense Parent Rep Program

The third MIT study involved tracking outcomes for 15,681 children involved in the child welfare system to examine the causal effects of foster care on future delinquency and need for emergency medical care. Results showed that children placed into foster care were  more likely to be delinquent  (i.e., have an appearance before the juvenile court). The  need for emergency care was 3 times higher  among children placed in foster care as compared to similarly maltreated children who remained home. The results suggest that placing children in foster care increases their likelihood of becoming delinquent during adolescence and requiring emergency healthcare in the short term, indicating that foster care does not serve a protective role along this dimension of child safety.

Causal Effects of Foster Care: An Instrumental-Variables Approach. Doyle, Joseph J. Children and Youth Services Review Vol. 35, No. 7 (2013): 1143-1151 (opens in new tab).

The second MIT study involved tracking 23,000 cases and estimated the causal effects of foster care on adult crime, as compared to similarly maltreated children left in the home. Children on the margin of placement were found to be  2 to 3 times more to become involved with the criminal justice system  as adults if they were placed in foster care. Children who were placed in foster care experienced  higher rates of arrest  (6-7.5% points),  conviction  (4% points), and  imprisonment  (3% points), as compared to similarly maltreated children who remained home. The study also found that Black children, girls and adolescents are more likely to be considered “on the margin, as compared to other children.

Child Protection and Adult Crime: Using Investigator Assignment to Estimate Causal Effects of Foster Care. Doyle, Joseph J. Journal of Political Economy Vol. 116, No. 4 (2008): 746-770. (opens in new tab)

The first MIT study tracked 15,000 children involved with the child welfare system into late teens/young adulthood. The study compared children in foster care directly to similarly maltreated children who remained in their homes, in order to determine the causal effects of foster care placement on life outcomes. Children on the margin of placement experienced improved outcomes when they remain at home as compared to placement into foster care, including being far less likely to experience teen pregnancy, commit a juvenile offense, and were more likely to hold a job for at least three months as compared to similarly maltreated children who were placed into foster care. This was found to be true for all age-groups but was especially significant for older children.

Child Protection and Child Outcomes: Measuring the Effects of Foster Care. Doyle, Joseph J. American Economic Review Vol. 97, No. 5 (2007): 746-770.(opens in a new tab)

Jacob D’Annunzio, is a managing attorney of the Parents Representation Program at the Washington State Office of Public Defense (OPD). Jacob began his career as a public defender at the Skagit County Public Defender, where besides working with juvenile and dependency cases, he was involved in creating the Family Treatment Court, working towards increasing visitation available for families, and working toward a foster mentor program. Jacob serves on the Children, Youth, and Family Services Advisory Committee, Washington State’s Citizen Review Panel, and various other committees where he works towards improving the state’s child welfare system.

Tonia McClanahan is the Washington State Office of Public Defense Parent Voice Advocacy Manager. Tonia was formerly the Parent4Parent Program Director for Thurston, Mason and Lewis Counties as well as a contracted Social Services Worker for the Washington State Office of Public Defense Parent Representation Programs. She has been working collaboratively with attorneys, parents and stakeholders to help parents navigate the Children’s Justice Systems and come to a resolution in the Dependency Court process for over 18 years.

Tonia also sits on various committees and boards at the state and local levels. She had mentored parents in the Dependency process in one capacity or another since 2005, has testified to help support Legislative work to improve child welfare systems since 2006, She is the first Parent to be commissioned on the Washington State Supreme Court Commission on Children in Foster Care. She sat on Family Recovery Court teams in 3 counties, A member of the State Safe Babies Advisory Team, is a member of a local Executive Dependency Advisory Group, a member of a local Drug Court Foundation named respectfully after Judge Strophy, a member of the State Background Check Workgroup, A co-chair on the Statewide ReUnification Steering Committee, A champion of the Protein for All program and Hangry Carts in two counties, A champion of the Mockingbird Society, an active member of local Alumni Groups, a long-standing member of the Washington State Parent Advocacy Committee, along with many other advocacy groups. If nothing else Tonia believes in helping parents regain hope in rebuilding their families and elevating the Parent voice.

As the Statewide Innovation Coordinator, Sarah supports dependency court improvement projects including the State Action Plan to reduce racial injustice in our child welfare system. In her prior role as Spokane’s Family and Juvenile Court Improvement Program (FJCIP) Coordinator, she worked with families in the dependency system to complete family law cases, facilitate complex change conversations between stakeholders, and manage juvenile court projects.

Sarah comes to the courts with knowledge and experience in trauma responsive practices and the change process for the implementation of those practices. Knowing that wellness is the foundation of a trauma responsive organization, she encourages a culture of wellness for the professionals and families involved with the court system.

Ambrosia Eberhardt is a Parent with lived child welfare experience in Spokane, Washington, and a mother of five. She has over two decades of experience in child welfare. She wears many hats, professionally and personally. She is the co-founder of the local grassroots parent-led group called the Spokane Parent Advocacy Network (SPAN), a founding member and current board member of the International Parent Advocacy Network (IPAN), and a previous facilitator and current alumni of the Washington State Parent Ally Committee (WSPAC). She is passionate about parent-led work locally, statewide, nationally, and internationally to ensure that families have the resources they need to navigate systems and have the longstanding support and pathways to a brighter future. She took everything she did wrong and flipped them as strengths on a resume and wants to help others turn their trials into triumphs too.

Carissa Greenberg joined the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) in late 2011, after nearly two years in private practice. During her tenure as an Assistant Attorney General, Carissa has served Washington’s public child welfare agency: first, the Department of Social and Health Services Children’s Administration, followed by the newly created Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF). Her experience includes representing the state in dependency and termination cases at the trial and appellate level, and later representing and advising DCYF Headquarters. Carissa is a member of the AGO Academy Committee, which trains all Assistant Attorneys General for the State of Washington. In 2015, she was a recipient of the AGO William V. Tanner Award for outstanding achievement early in her career. She holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in Political Studies and Theatre from Whitworth College (now University) and graduated cum laude from Gonzaga University School of Law where she was a Thomas More Scholar.

Marci Comeau (she/her) is a Managing Attorney for the Washington State Office of Public Defense (OPD) Parents Representation Program. Prior to joining OPD, Marci served as an Administrative Law Judge for the Washington State Office of Administrative Hearings, both in the Social and Health Services and Employment Security Divisions. Marci has also represented parents and children in dependency, termination, and guardianship proceedings working for the King County Department of Public Defense, and she represented DSHS in dependency, termination, and guardianship proceedings as an Assistant Attorney General. Throughout her career, Marci has enjoyed providing local, statewide, and national trainings to stakeholders in the juvenile dependency system on various topics, including dependency practice and procedure, discovery, the harm of removal, the mental health of dependency practitioners, and anti-racist dependency practice. Marci is active in the Juvenile Law Section of the Washington State Bar Association, and participates in other juvenile and dependency court and system improvement committees. Marci received her undergraduate degree from the University of Washington in 2001 and her Juris Doctorate from Seattle University in 2006.

Tarassa Froberg is the current Child Protective Services and Family Voluntary Services Statewide Program Manager and the previous Child and Family Welfare Services Program Manager at Department of Children Youth and Families (DCYF). She has worked for DCYF for 25 years and worked directly with children and families in the community for the first 19 years. She has a Master in Social Work from the University of Washington. Tarassa is passionate about doing all we can to keep children safe while strengthening and preserving the family unit and by doing so strengthening communities.

Anne Hirsch is a retired Thurston County Superior Court Judge. In her time on the bench, Judge Hirsch served as Chief Judge at Family and Juvenile Court, Criminal Presiding Judge, trial court judge and Family Recovery Court Judge. Judge Hirsch was a founding member of the Advisory Committee that created the programs at Thurston County’s Family and Juvenile Court, the first stand-alone Unified Family and Juvenile Court in Washington State. Judge Hirsch has served as faculty in many local, state, and national trainings related to domestic violence, family and dependency law, and drug court, among other issues. She is faculty for the Center for Court Innovation and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges and has contributed to work on projects including the Family Court Enhancement Project, Model Codes for custody and for dependency cases, and trainings and curriculum development for custody evaluators and guardians ad litem.

Judge Hirsch served as the co-chair of the Washington State Superior Court Judges Association’s Family and Juvenile Law committee and chair of the Washington State Foster Care Commission’s Best Practices Workgroup. Prior to becoming a judge, Judge Hirsch served as a part-time family and juvenile law commissioner and judge pro tem for more than 14 years. During that time, she maintained a private law practice which included work as a mediator and guardian ad litem. Before opening her private practice, Judge Hirsch worked for many years as a legal services attorney representing low-income families in civil cases, including contested custody, domestic violence, housing, and public benefits cases.

Over the years, Judge Hirsch has participated as a trainer and volunteer for various community and law related projects including many years as a weekly instructor for Capitol High School students in their street law class. Judge Hirsch has served on local community boards including the Thurston County Domestic Violence Fatality Review, the Thurston County Bar Association, and the Lincoln elementary school site council. Judge Hirsch was a founding board member of the Thurston County Volunteer Legal Services and served for many years on the local Food Bank board of directors.

Robert Larson has a MSW from Eastern Washington University. Robert is currently the Deputy Regional Administrator for Region 1 DCYF. Robert has been a DCYF employee (previously DSHS) since 1995. His experience includes work in CPS, CFWS, Supervision, Management, Critical Incident Reviews, and Quality Assurance work. He has significant work experience in both rural communities and larger urban environments.

Michael Heard has been a Social Work Manager with the Washington State Office of Public Defense (OPD) since 2006, and a contracted federal consultant for Child and Family Services Reviews (CFSR) since 2007. In addition, he has been an Affiliated Instructor with the University of Washington, School of Social Work since 2014. Mr. Heard sits on the steering committee for the ABA’s National Alliance for Parent Representation.

Prior to joining OPD, Mr. Heard worked as an administrator for the Washington State Children’s Administration, where he was responsible for the overall operation of four offices, located across three different counties. His experience in child welfare spans over three decades, including roles as a statewide quality assurance program manager, CPS supervisor, CPS social worker and Indian child welfare social worker. In addition, he has extensive experience working to provide social work services to our community’s most vulnerable, including roles as a long-term care facility worker, a mental health counselor, a juvenile rehabilitation counselor, and a direct practice provider for individuals with developmental disabilities. Mr. Heard has undergraduate degree in sociology from the University of Utah and a master of social work (MSW) from the University of Minnesota.

In 2023, Mr. Heard was presented with the Lee Ann Miller Individual Award, in recognition of his outstanding leadership in furthering the goals of the Washington State Children’s Justice Act.

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The FJCIP court team supports and promotes ongoing, cross-system learning opportunities. FJCIP dependency judicial officers participate in specialized judicial training and in educational events with local system partners. In collaboration with court partners, the FJCIP creates a learning environment to engage the local system in acquiring new skills and changing practice with the goal of improving outcomes for children, families and the professionals who support them.

The FJCIP Coordinator is dedicated to improving dependency court operations and case outcomes for children and families involved in child welfare. Using data, research, and the experience of peer courts across the state, local FJCIP Coordinators work closely with their judicial officers to convene local system partners to identify opportunities for improvement, undertake meaningful practice change, and assess the effectiveness of their efforts. The FJCIP Coordinator works with court and system leaders to foster a court culture that is trauma-responsive, equitable and respectful of families, community members and system professionals. The coordinator actively participates in trainings, state-wide communities of practice, and state-wide system change efforts, to expand their job specific knowledge and skillset and contribute to a state-level knowledge base.

The FJCIP recognizes that families who become involved with the dependency system have experienced significant trauma and adversity in their lives. FJCIP communities are educated about what it means to be a trauma-responsive system and the role of each member in creating a safe and healing environment for the children, youth and families they serve. FJCIP communities engage people with lived experience to improve local research, programs and practices. FJCIP continuously assess their effectiveness and take steps to better serve our families and children.

An overarching goal of the FJCIP is to research, develop and implement strategies and approaches that yield statewide benefit. Through partnership with different workgroups and communication with the legislature, the FJCIP is building and sharing effective, data-driven solutions with other specialty courts and court programs in the state. This information exchange enables AOC staff to bring local court perspectives into statewide decision-making spaces and impact policy decisions.

Cross system collaboration builds constructive working relationships with all parties involved in the child welfare system (e.g., child advocates, DCYF case workers, lived experts, service providers, etc.). This collaboration enhances a community’s ability to improve the court system and the outcomes for children, families, and professionals. By engaging cross system partners in multi-level cross system work to find strategies for high level system improvement, they can connect youth and families with community resources.

Levels of Collaboration Framework

FJCIP coordinators participate in a regular Community of Practice, facilitated by the Statewide FJCIP Team from the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC), to learn from each other, share best practices and innovative ideas, ask questions, and work together toward continuous quality improvement. Regular Community of Practice meetings enable the coordinators to stay informed about the Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF), court, legislative and case law updates, and provide the AOC with insight into the needs of local courts. The Statewide FJCIP Team also helps to evaluate what works and share it with other courts and audiences.

The FJCIP court team and court partners work together to ensure that accurate data informs the work of cross-system efforts that assess the court’s performance and identify priorities for improvement. This includes soliciting feedback from families served by the system. The FJCIP Coordinator has primary responsibility for facilitating cross-system workgroups, collecting and sharing data and monitoring the effectiveness of court improvement projects. This enables court partners to actively participate in and contribute to system improvement work. FJCIP courts can request CQI training and technical assistance from the AOC’s Statewide FJCIP Team and the Family & Youth Justice Programs.

The success of FJCIP courts is directly related to the leadership provided by dependency court judicial officers. Judicial officers lead the formation of a FJCIP court team that engages the local community in ongoing work of court communities for developing and maintaining programs that serve children and their families. Specialized training and experience help guide the judicial officer’s leadership within the court.

King Lawyer

Understanding the Proceedings of a Family Court Hearing in the United States

Hello and welcome to this informative article on the proceedings of a family court hearing in the United States. We hope to provide you with a clear and detailed overview of what to expect during these important legal proceedings. However, please remember that laws can vary from state to state, and it is always essential to cross-reference the information provided here with other reliable sources or seek advice from legal professionals.

Family court hearings are held to address various matters related to family law, such as divorce, child custody, child support, adoption, and domestic violence. These hearings are designed to ensure that the rights and welfare of all family members involved are protected and that fair decisions are made.

Now, let’s delve into the typical process of a family court hearing:

📋 Content in this article

1. Scheduling the Hearing: The process begins with the scheduling of the hearing. This is typically done by either party involved or their legal representatives. The court will provide a date, time, and location for the hearing.

2. Pre-Hearing Procedures: Before the actual hearing takes place, there may be pre-hearing procedures such as mediation or mandatory parenting classes. These are aimed at encouraging parties to resolve their disputes outside of court and promote amicable agreements.

3. Opening Statements: At the start of the hearing, each party or their attorneys may present opening statements. These statements provide an overview of each party’s position and set the tone for the rest of the proceedings.

4. Presentation of Evidence: The presentation of evidence is a crucial part of any court hearing. Both parties have an opportunity to present evidence to support their claims or dispute the other party’s allegations. Evidence may include documents, photographs, witness testimony, or expert opinions.

5. Examination and Cross-Examination: After the evidence is presented, the parties or their attorneys may question each other’s witnesses through

Choosing the Most Reliable Witnesses for a Custody Case

Family court hearings in the United States can be complex and emotionally challenging, especially when child custody is at stake. One crucial aspect of these hearings is the selection of reliable witnesses. Reliable witnesses can provide vital information to the court, helping them make informed decisions in the best interest of the child. In this article, we will discuss the importance of choosing the most reliable witnesses for a custody case.

  • What is a witness?

A witness is an individual who has direct knowledge or information about the case and is called upon to testify under oath. In a custody case, witnesses can be anyone who possesses relevant information, such as family members, friends, teachers, or healthcare professionals. Their testimony can help shed light on the child’s relationship with each parent, their overall well-being, and any concerns that may exist.

  • Why choose reliable witnesses?

Selecting reliable witnesses is paramount in a custody case. The court relies on the credibility and integrity of these individuals to make important decisions regarding the child’s future. Reliable witnesses are those who:

– Have firsthand knowledge: Witnesses who have personally observed and experienced interactions between the child and each parent hold significant weight in court. They can provide specific examples, anecdotes, and insights that support their claims.

– Are unbiased: It is crucial to select witnesses who can provide an objective perspective. The court values witnesses who do not have a personal interest in the outcome of the case and can provide an impartial account of their observations.

– Can articulate effectively: Witnesses who can clearly and coherently express themselves are more likely to have their testimony considered by the court. Their ability to communicate effectively ensures that their statements are accurately understood and evaluated.

  • How to identify reliable witnesses?

Understanding the Proceedings of the First Custody Hearing in US Law

When it comes to matters related to family law, such as child custody disputes, divorces, and domestic violence cases, the family court system in the United States plays a vital role in resolving conflicts and protecting the interests of all parties involved. To navigate this complex legal process successfully, it is crucial to understand the proceedings of a family court hearing. In this article, we will outline the general structure and key aspects of a family court hearing in the United States.

The Purpose of a Family Court Hearing

A family court hearing is a formal legal proceeding where a judge presides over a case involving family law matters. The primary purpose of this hearing is to gather relevant information, hear arguments from both parties, and make decisions that are in the best interest of the individuals involved, particularly children. These hearings provide an opportunity for parties to present their side of the case and seek resolution through the court’s intervention.

Preparation for the Hearing

Before attending a family court hearing, it is essential to be well-prepared. This involves gathering all necessary documents and evidence that support your case. It is also advisable to consult with an attorney who specializes in family law to ensure that you are adequately prepared for the proceedings.

Structure of a Family Court Hearing

Family court hearings typically follow a structured format, which may vary slightly depending on the jurisdiction and specific case. Here is a general outline of what to expect during a family court hearing:

1. Opening Statements: At the beginning of the hearing, each party or their respective attorneys will make opening statements. These statements provide an overview of the case and outline the main arguments or positions.

2. Presentation of Evidence: After opening statements, the parties will present their evidence to support their claims. This may include documents, photographs, witness testimony, or expert opinions.

Introduction:

Family court hearings are an essential part of the legal system in the United States, governing matters related to family and domestic relations. These hearings address a wide range of issues, including divorce, child custody, spousal support, child support, adoption, and domestic violence. It is crucial for individuals involved in such cases to have a clear understanding of the proceedings to navigate the legal process effectively. This article aims to provide a comprehensive overview of family court hearings in the United States.

Importance of Staying Current on Family Court Proceedings:

Staying current on family court proceedings is of utmost importance for several reasons. Firstly, laws and regulations related to family court matters can vary between states and even within different jurisdictions within a state. Familiarity with the specific laws applicable to one’s case is crucial for obtaining a favorable outcome. Secondly, family law is subject to constant changes and updates to adapt to evolving societal norms and circumstances. Staying informed about these changes helps individuals present their case effectively and ensures that their rights are protected. Lastly, understanding the proceedings of a family court hearing empowers individuals to make informed decisions about their legal strategies, representation, and potential outcomes.

Overview of Family Court Hearing Proceedings:

1. Filing the Petition: Family court proceedings usually start with one party filing a petition or complaint related to a family matter. The petitioner initiates the legal process by outlining the issues they seek resolution for.

2. Serving the Respondent: After filing the petition, the petitioner must ensure that the respondent is properly served with a copy of the petition and any accompanying documents. Proper service ensures that all parties involved have notice of the proceedings and an opportunity to respond.

3. Initial Hearing or Conference: Once both parties have been properly served, an initial hearing or conference is scheduled. This hearing allows the court to gather preliminary information, establish temporary orders if necessary, and set deadlines for further legal actions.

Related Posts:

  • Understanding the Proceedings of an Urgent Family Court Hearing in the United States
  • Understanding the Proceedings of a First Hearing in Family Court in the United States
  • Understanding the Proceedings of a Final Hearing in Family Court
  • Understanding the Proceedings of a Court of Protection Hearing in the United States
  • Understanding the Proceedings and Processes at Family Court in the United States
  • Understanding the Initial Hearing in Family Court Dispute Resolution
  • Understanding the Legal Obligations Surrounding Attendance at Family Court Proceedings in the United States
  • Understanding the Required Evidence for Family Court Proceedings in the United States
  • Understanding the Inner Workings of Family Court Proceedings in the United States
  • Understanding the Costs Involved in Family Court Proceedings in the United States
  • Understanding the Consequences of Ignoring Family Court Proceedings in the United States
  • Understanding the Role of a Solicitor in Family Court Proceedings in the United States
  • Strategies for Success: Achieving a Favorable Outcome in a Final Hearing at Family Court
  • Understanding the Timeline of Family Court Proceedings in the United States
  • Understanding Legal Aid for Family Court Proceedings in the United States
  • Understanding Presence Requirements in Family Court Proceedings in the United States
  • Understanding the Coverage of Legal Aid in Family Court Proceedings in the United States
  • Understanding Family Law in the United States: A Comprehensive Guide to Watching Family Law Proceedings
  • Strategies for Establishing Credibility Challenges in Family Court Proceedings in the United Kingdom
  • Understanding the Jurisdiction of Family Court: Crimes Addressed in Family Court Proceedings
  • Understanding the Purpose and Function of a C100 Family Court in the United States
  • Understanding Your Rights: Refusal to Attend Family Court in the United States
  • Consequences of Non-Attendance at Family Court Proceedings
  • The Consequences of Not Attending Family Court Proceedings in the UK
  • Understanding the Duration of Family Court Proceedings in the UK
  • The Timelines for Receiving a Response from Family Court Proceedings
  • Consequences of Non-Attendance by the Respondent in UK Family Court Proceedings
  • Understanding the Costs Involved in Family Court Proceedings in the UK
  • Understanding the Obligations of Attending a Civil Court Hearing
  • Understanding the Timelines and Waiting Periods in UK Family Court Proceedings
  • Understanding the Protocol for Attending a Crown Court Hearing
  • Understanding Court Costs for Child Custody Proceedings in the United States
  • Understanding the Obligations to Provide Evidence in Family Court Proceedings
  • Understanding the Admissible Evidence in UK Family Court Proceedings
  • Understanding the Role of Legal Representation in Family Court Proceedings in the UK

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What is a six month Review Hearing?

Hopefully, once the judge signs the divorce Decree finalizing a divorce or an Order finalizing a custody case, families settle into a new routine of life.  The hope is the parents follow the parenting time schedule, child support gets paid and the parents are communicating with one another about medical and school issues.  In reality, the “new normal” does not always go as planned.

Every family court Order, whether it is a divorce, custody or parenting time case, that deals with parenting time, legal custody, physical custody or child support has forms attached to it.  Either parent can ask the court to review the last court Order after six months of the Order being signed by the judge.  It is important to know the request for the six month Review Hearing must be made before the six months prior to the date the Order was signed runs out.  The six month Review Hearings must be completed and filed with Court Administration, which schedules a Review Hearing for the parents and the judge within a reasonable time.  The judge, during that court Hearing, reviews the parenting time schedule and child support payments to see that both parents are complying with what the court previously ordered.

In terms of child support, the person paying child support has to provide documentation of those payments to the court showing the child support payments have not been made.  A parent can request documentation from the child support enforcement office, but the request must be made at least fourteen days before the Review Hearing.

A judge cannot change child support obligations or parenting time orders at the six-month review hearing.  Thus, a parent should speak with an experienced family attorney prior to the six months running out if a parent wants representation at the Review Hearing or if a parent wants to pursue changing legal custody, physical custody, parenting time or child support.

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Judicial Review Hearing

Introduction.

Judicial reviews, although not statutorily required, can be helpful and are encouraged in monitoring the compliance or non-compliance of parties in the case and in modifying plans as needed. In addition, this hearing can be used to correct, adjust and update the placement plan and return the child home, if appropriate.

§ 63-7-1670(C)(1). Treatment plan. § 63-7-1700(J),(K). Permanency planning. § 63-7-2580(A). Permanency of order.

  • To determine whether parties, including DSS, are in compliance with previous orders and reasonable efforts.
  • To serve as a request to the court for modifications to the placement plan based upon change of circumstances or new information obtained.
  • To serve as a court explanation to any party that is not in compliance with previously issued orders and to reiterate the consequences of non-compliance.
  • To review the progress of the implementation of a plan for permanent placement following TPR. § 63-7-2580(A).
  • if this is a highly contested case; or
  • if the permanent plan is TPR.
  • if placement plan needs modification due to unavailable services or referrals;
  • if additional services are needed by parent or child; or
  • to reiterate consequences of non-compliance if a party is slow to comply or not complying with placement plan.
  • Prior to the initial permanency planning hearing, best practices are to schedule reviews in each case at 90 day intervals.

Judicial review is also available to a party who has exhausted all administrative remedies available within the agency and who is aggrieved by a final decision in a contested case.

  • § 1-23-380. Judicial review upon exhaustion of administrative remedies.
  • § 63-7-1440. Judicial review. An appellant seeking judicial review shall file a petition in the family court within 30 days after the final decision of DSS. The appellant shall serve a copy of the petition upon DSS. The family court shall conduct a judicial review in accordance with the standards of review provided for in § 1-23-380. The court may enter judgment upon the pleadings and a certified transcript of the record which must include the evidence upon which the findings and decisions appealed are based. The judgment must include a determination of whether the decision of DSS that a preponderance of evidence shows that the appellant abused or neglected the child should be affirmed or reversed. The appellant is not entitled to a trial de novo in the family court. 

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Guide to Dependency Court – For Parents

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Juvenile Dependency Court Orientation - a video about the court process for parents whose children were taken from their care.

If you are a parent and your child was removed from the home because of child abuse or neglect, this page is for you.  Keep in mind that juvenile dependency cases are very serious. They can change your life and your child’s life. Click on the links below for more information about how dependency court works. And talk to a lawyer for more help understanding your rights and the courts. Click for help finding a lawyer .

If you are the father of the child, a non-biological parent, the partner of the child’s biological parent, or in some other way believe you have or should have parental rights as to the child in the case, click for information on Rights of Fathers and Other Parents .

For more information, read Juvenile Dependency Court and You: A Guide for Parents . This guide explains the dependency court process in California. It includes the story of one parent who went through the dependency system and her advice to you on how to get your children back home. Also available in Spanish .

How does a case start?

A child abuse and neglect case starts when someone reports a concern that: You are abusing your child or not taking care of your child properly, Someone else is abusing your child or not taking care of him or her properly and you are not protecting your child from that, or Your child is in danger of being abused or not taken care of properly by you or someone else. Reports that a child is being abused or neglected are usually made to the police or to social workers. When a child abuse and neglect report is made, the social worker or police officer is required to investigate. If a police officer gets notified first, he or she will usually turn it over to the social worker for investigation. A social worker investigates by talking to you, your child, people who know you and your family, and by looking at where you live. The social worker can talk to your child at school without you being present. The social worker does not need a court order to talk to your child at school, as long as there is not a police officer present when the social worker talks to your child. After the social worker talks to your child at school, he or she has to tell you that s/he interviewed your child at school. After investigating the social worker will do one of the following: Not take any action . The social worker will do this if he does not find evidence of abuse or neglect that requires court involvement. Offer you what are called voluntary services. These are free services that the social worker will help you connect to that are designed to help you learn how to parent your child more safely. Leave your child in your care and file a petition with the court that asks to the court to open a case to protect your child. Take your child from your care and file a paper with the court , called a petition, that asks the court to open a case to protect your child. The social worker must file the petition within two court days of removing your child. The social worker will take your child from you if he thinks the child is in immediate danger in your care. If the social worker takes your child from your care he can place the child with the other parent (if you are separated), with a relative, or in a foster home.

What to do if your child is removed

One of the most important things to do when your child is removed is to give the social worker information on your family members. The placement options for your child will be: the other parent if you and your child’s other parent are not together, a relative, or a foster home or shelter. To prevent your child from being placed with strangers, give your relatives’ information to the social worker. Click for a Guide to Dependency Court: For Relatives and/or Caregivers . When your child is removed, you can also ask the social worker to set up frequent visits with your child. If it is appropriate to do so, you will be able see your child while you wait for your court date. Attend the first court hearing. In most courts, this is called the detention hearing. If your child has been removed, this hearing must be held by the end of the day after the petition is filed. The social worker will tell you when and where the detention hearing is going to take place. Keep in mind that even though your child is removed you still have the right to make educational decisions on behalf of your child. So, you should continue to participate in your child’s education and decisions regarding his education. The court can limit your right to make educational decisions based on your failure to respond to and participate in school meetings. You also retain your right to make health care decisions for your child and you have the right to attend doctors appointments.

The first court hearing

If your child has been removed, the first hearing must happen the day after the petition was filed. If your child was not removed, the first hearing must be held no later than 15 days after the petition is filed. At the first hearing a few different things will happen. First, if you cannot afford a lawyer, the judge will appoint one for you. The judge will also appoint a lawyer for the other parent of your child if he or she shows up for the first court hearing. Most counties will also appoint an attorney for your child.  Important: The attorney client relationship is a special one. First, your communications with your attorney are confidential, which means that the attorney cannot tell anyone else what you talk about unless you say it is okay. Your attorney talks to you about the law and how it applies to the facts of your case. And your attorney is your voice in court and presents your position to the judge. If there has been a break down in your relationship with your attorney and you do not feel like he or she is representing your interests, you can ask the judge to appoint a new attorney for you. The social worker will be at the first hearing. He or she also has an attorney, often called the county counsel or agency attorney. Before the court hearing the social worker will provide all the attorneys and the judge with the petition and the written report that talks about the reasons the petition was filed. The petition has a list of things that are numbered, like A-1 or B-1. These are called allegations, and they summarize what the social worker thinks is going on with your and your children. If your child has been removed, the first hearing is called the detention hearing and the judge will decide whether your child can go home right away. This is the first time the judge will be asked to make sure that your child is safe. If your child can’t go home right away, the judge will make orders about when and where you can visit your child. The judge may also ask you some questions about whether your child may be a member of a Native American tribe. The questions about connections to a tribe are important because of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). If you have Indian ancestry or think you are a member of a tribe, please click here for more information on ICWA. The judge will ask you about the child’s other parent, if that parent is not at the hearing. This means that the court will ask if there is a father or another person who qualifies as a parent to the child. The questions about the other parent are needed to find out who your child’s legal parents are. Click for information on Rights of Fathers and Other Parents to find out more about parentage and paternity in juvenile court. If your child has been removed you have the right to argue against the removal (detention) of your child. The hearing where you argue against your child being removed will take place a few days after the first hearing. It is called the jurisdiction.

The jurisdiction / disposition hearing

The jurisdiction hearing is the hearing that comes after the initial hearing, if your children were not removed, or after the detention hearing if your kids were removed. At the jurisdiction hearing the judge will decide whether the allegations in the petition are true. If the judge decides the allegations are true, the court will take authority over your child. This is called jurisdiction in the law; that is why the hearing is called the jurisdiction hearing. At the jurisdiction hearing: If the judge decides that any of the allegations are true and your child isn’t safe, then your child will become a dependent of the court - whether your child is living with you or not. That means your child is in the system. Being in the system does not necessarily mean that your child will live with someone else. It only means that the judge is allowed to make orders about your child’s care. If the judge decides that none of the allegations are true, then the case will be dismissed and you’ll be finished with the system. If your case is not dismissed, there is a disposition hearing after the jurisdiction hearing. Often the jurisdiction and disposition hearings are combined and handled at the same time. Disposition is the part of the case where the judge will decide what you should do to make things better for your family and your child. This is called the reunification plan. It will include: Decisions about where your child should live (this is called placement). Should your child live with you or with someone else? If your child does not live with you, whom should your child live with? Decisions about when, where, and how you can visit with your child. Decisions about what reunification services you need to make your child safe and able to live with you at home. Decisions about what services your child needs to be safe and healthy. If you disagree with the allegations in the petition, you have a right to a hearing to contest the allegations in the petition. That hearing will occur at a later date. If you do not dispute the allegations in the petition but you disagree with the reunification plan, you have a right to contest that.

Reunification services

With certain exceptions, the court must offer you services to help you reunify with your child (get your child returned to your care). The social worker assigned to your case will come up with the reunification services, with your input. The judge will order you to complete all the reunification services. You should immediately begin participating in those services because you have to complete all of the reunification services to get your child back and you have a limited amount of time to do it.  Most of the time, you will have a year to complete your requirements if you keep making progress. But if your child is under three years old, you will have only six months to show that you are committed to finishing up everything. After the court orders you to participate in reunification services, your next court hearing is not for 6 months. During this six months you should be participating in the reunification services offered to you. If you make progress, your child could be returned to you prior to the next court date. It is important to keep in touch with your attorney and social worker to keep them up to date on your progress toward your reunification goals. If you believe that it is safe for your child to be returned to your home, your attorney can file paperwork asking the court to return your child. If you do not participate in the services set forth in your reunification plan, the court can terminate your services. If your services are terminated that means that the goal for your case has changed from getting you back together with your child to finding a permanent home (that is not with you) for your child.

Review hearings

During the time your child is in the system (whether your child is living with you or with someone else), the court will have a hearing every six months. These court hearings are dependency status review hearings, which in different courts can also be called status review hearings, periodic review hearings, or DSR hearings. The purpose of each review hearing is pretty much the same: it is for the court to decide if you have been really working on your case plan and if it is safe for your child to be returned to your care or, when your child is living with you, if your case can be dismissed. At six month review the court can: return your child to your care if he was removed from your care,  order that your child remain out of your care but give you another six months of services, or order that your child remain out of your care and stop offering you reunification services.

A permanent plan

There are several things you should know if the court does not return your child and terminates your reunification.

  • First you can continue to visit with your child, unless the court finds that it is harming the child, even if your reunification services have been stopped.
  • Legal guardianship is the second choice: A legal guardian has all the legal rights and responsibilities that any parent would have taking care of a child. Your rights as a parent are not terminated but are on hold during the guardianship. Usually the court will dismiss your case from the system, but in some cases the court may continue to monitor your child. It may also grant you the right to visit your child under certain rules; and
  • A long term planned permanent living arrangement is the third choice: Long-term planned permanent living arrangement means that your child will continue to live with foster parents, either related to her or him or unrelated. The case stays in the system and the court will have a review hearing every six months.
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what is a review hearing in family court

How does a pretrial hearing work in family law?

Your family law case is scheduled for a pretrial hearing. How can you prepare for this? What’s going to happen?

A pretrial hearing is a key event in a family law case. It’s the point at which many cases are either resolved or placed on the track toward a trial, which is typically the most time-consuming and expensive phase of a case.

Leading up to the pretrial hearing, the parties are expected to have met beforehand. This is referred to as the “4-way meeting,” which is an out-of court meeting between the parties and attorneys, usually at one of the attorneys’ office, at which the parties discuss and try to narrow the issues. Some judges take this requirement so seriously that they will refuse to hold the pretrial hearing if the parties have not met outside of court before the hearing date.

Once you arrive at court on the hearing day, the attorneys typically check in with the sessions clerk, who is essentially an assistant of the judge in the courtroom.

The next step is that the attorneys usually take some time to negotiate the remaining unresolved issues in the case if they believe any of the issues can be resolved short of a hearing. The attorneys may or may not ask the parties to join the discussion, depending on their judgement of whether this would be helpful. For example, if the parties’ relationship is strained, it may be best for the attorneys to work among themselves on the contested issues.

Also, for the hearing, both sides are expected to submit a detailed pretrial memorandum that outlines the key information and arguments in the case. The judge will typically read these before hearing the case.

If both sides are able to resolve the remaining issues, the case can move toward resolution. This sometimes requires scheduling a status or uncontested divorce hearing date for the parties to return to finalize the case. This additional time is usually used for negotiating the fine details of the case and drafting and editing the divorce agreement.

If however, there is any significant unresolved issue, the parties have the opportunity through their presentations of the pretrial memorandum and arguments from the attorneys, to present the uncontested issues to the judge.

Judges will sometimes provide feedback on the key issues in an attempt to move the parties toward resolution. For example, a judge may say that given the facts of the case, if the case were to go to trial, a particular result would be likely. Judges usually preface these comments by reminding the parties that the judge’s feedback at the pretrial stage is not a final decision and that if the case were to proceed to trial, depending on the state of the evidence, there may be a different outcome.

Feedback from the judge at pretrial is often helpful because it can be used to guide the parties’ further negotiations. The parties can in some cases use that feedback to make progress on the remaining issues.

However, in some cases, a judge will not provide feedback. For example, if the judge feels like there are significant credibility or factual issues that need to be examined closely at a trial through evidence, the judge may not comment on what the result should be.

Pretrial hearings are also significant because a judge can order the case immediately to trial on that day, depending on the circumstances. Although this rarely happens, it highlights the importance of going to this hearing prepared to address the key issues. An example of when a case may be brought to final judgment at pretrial is if one party does not appear. If that happens, a judge will typically ask the party who is present to submit a proposed judgment for the court to consider, and the court will usually adopt that party’s proposal

After the pretrial hearing, the case can go in several directions. If the parties are close to resolution, the court may schedule another pretrial hearing date or a status hearing date to give them time to negotiate further. And sometimes, depending on the issues, a judge may recommend alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation.

However, when it’s clear that the parties are unlikely to move toward an agreement, the case may be scheduled for trial, which is the final event at which the judge hears and sees evidence and makes the final decision on the case.

A pretrial hearing is a key event: it’s an opportunity for the parties to present their respective positions to the court. And it’s typically the point at which cases are either resolved or scheduled for trial. Therefore, you must be sure that, through your attorney, you’re prepared to effectively present your position so that you can optimize your chances of moving toward your goals.

If you have any questions about pretrial hearings or family law in general, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

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Documents That Can Help You Win Child Custody

Barry Yee / Photographer's Choice RF / Getty Images

It's difficult to determine which documents are important to bring to a child custody hearing. If you're confused about what to take with you , too much documentation is always better than too little. (It's better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.) But knowing how to distinguish irrelevant from relevant documents makes all the difference.

Although a consultation with an attorney should give you some solid ideas, this list might help as well.

Written Submissions to the Court

You won't want to just show up in court with your documents. All custody proceedings begin with written submissions to the court outlining your position and clearly stating what you're asking the court to order.

If you're beginning a custody suit and acting without an attorney, it's a good idea to include copies of any documentation you gathered to support your arguments when you made your written submission. The judge will review these documents before you get to court.

If your child's other parent initiates custody proceedings, you can assume that they included their own proof when they made their written submission. You must receive a copy of the paperwork they gave the court—that's the law.

Read it over carefully. You have a right to respond to their submissions in writing. This will provide a good guide toward what additional documentation you'll need beyond this list, and what to gather to refute their comments. Make copies and submit them with your written answer.

Take additional copies to court with you as well, just to be safe. Even court staff sometimes lose or misplace paperwork, so you'll have it with you in the case of an emergency.

Now, what exactly should you include? 

Phone Call Logs

Both parents should keep a diary of all phone calls made between the child and the parent who does not currently have custody. The log should include when the calls occur, how long they last, and their frequency. Do they take place every night or afternoon? Every week? Maybe twice a week? Include their nature. Are they just talking on the phone or are they Skyping?

These records are evidence of continuous contact between you and your child if you don't have custody, or perhaps the lack of regular contact between your child and their other parent if your child is currently living with you.

Be careful with this, however, because it's possible that the non-custodial parent might take the position that they didn't call more frequently because of some action you took, like not letting them speak to their child or getting into an argument with them before turning the phone over. Courts tend to take a very dim view of a parent who tries to curtail or impede the child's relationship with the other parent.

A lack of regular phone contact (such as only a few times a year, or only on birthdays or holidays) may indicate to the judge that your ex doesn't have a close relationship with the child.

Visitation Schedules

Parents should also keep a log of visitation between the child and the child's other parent. A visitation schedule log should include when visits occur, where they occur, how long they last, and their frequency. 

A non-custodial parent who's trying to get custody can utilize this information in court to prove a continuous and meaningful relationship with the child. A custodial parent might use a log of visitation schedules to prove the lack of a continuous relationship between the child and the child's other parent.

For example, if that parent only sees the child for short periods of time once every few months, it may be indicative that the parent doesn't have a significant interest in maintaining a close relationship with the child. This is always subject to the caveat that if they're not seeing the child, it's not due to something that you've done to prevent it.

Your Child's Records

Consider including your child's report cards and other written documentation from others showing how well they have done while in your care—or vice versa. If your child is repeatedly injured while in their other parent's care, including doctor reports and emergency treatment records.

Consider getting written statements from teachers, coaches, even your neighbors if they have first-hand knowledge of the relationship between you and your child, and the relationship between your child and your ex.

Don't Overlook a Custody Evaluation

A judge might order a custody evaluation in a truly contentious dispute to get to the bottom of things. A trained professional will meet with your child, usually repeatedly, and may visit both parents' homes, as well. It's the professional's job to report back to the court with a custody recommendation.

You don't have to wait for the judge to order one, however. If you're engaged in a particularly contentious custody battle, consider asking the court to order an evaluation or to allow you to hire an expert.

For more information about relevant documents pertaining to child custody , speak with a qualified attorney in your jurisdiction. If you don't feel that you can afford an attorney, look into legal aid in your area.

American Psychological Association. Guidelines for Child Custody Evaluations in Family Law Proceedings .

American Bar Associations. Bar Directories and Lawyer Finders .

Official Guide to Government Information and Services. Find a Lawyer and Affordable Legal Aid .

By Debrina Washington Debrina Washington is a New York-based family law attorney and writer, who runs her own virtual practice to assist single parents with legal issues.

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What Are the Different Types of Court Hearings?

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The list below is a list of different types of court hearings:

Arraignment

An arraignment , is your initial appearance before the Judge. It's your chance to be recommended on the charge(s) that are filed against you and your court rights; it also is your chance to enter a plea to your charge(s). If you do not appear for the arraignment, a delinquent notice is sent. If you don't reply in person to your delinquent notice within ten days, a bench warrant is issued for an arrest.

Review Hearing

As your sentencing conditions are due, you'll be set for a review hearing. The sentencing might include a variety of consequences like a charge related class, community service hours, restitution, and so on. If you don't complete the sentencing requirements or your Judge orders your presence, you must appear. If you've successfully finished your sentencing requirements, you have to turn in evidence by the date of your review hearing. If you do not appear or offer proof, a bench warrant is issued for an arrest.

Show Cause Hearing

If you do not appear for the review hearing, you might get a notice of show cause inside the mail. The show cause gives you an appearance date in court to discuss why you didn't offer evidence of your sentencing and didn't appear for the review hearing. If you finish your sentencing and offer evidence to the court before the date of your show cause hearing, you don't have to appear in court. But, if you haven't finished, you have to appear, or a bench warrant is going to be issued for an arrest.

Bond Hearing

If you happened to enter a "not guilty" plea at the arraignment, you'll be scheduling a future meeting date with the City's Prosecuting Attorney to talk over your case. If you don't appear, a bench warrant is going to be issued for an arrest.

Final Pre-Trial Status Conference

The conference might be arranged at the Judge's discretion before the date of trial, to make sure that both parties are ready for trial, and to care for any problems which might have come up.

If you set the case for trial, your Judge is going to preside over your trial proceedings. If you do not appear, a bench warrant is going to be issued for an arrest.

If you set the case for a jury trial, the jury will determine your innocence or guilt. If you do not appear, a bench warrant is going to be issued. Take note: Not every charge is qualified for a jury trial.

For more information on the different types of court hearings contact the court appearance professionals at Attorneys on Demand today!

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What is a Merits Hearing in Family Court?

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A merits hearing, also known as a final hearing or trial, is an important part of the court process in family law cases such as divorce, child custody, child support, and alimony. This hearing allows the judge to evaluate the evidence and make final decisions about these critical issues.

An Overview of the Family Court Process

To understand what a merits hearing entails, it helps to first understand the stages of a typical family law case. The process generally includes:

The merits hearing or trial is the culmination of the family court process. This is when the parties have the opportunity to present their full case to the judge for a final binding decision.

Purpose of a Merits Hearing

The overarching goal is for the judge to hear all relevant evidence in order to make final decisions that are fair, comply with the law, and serve the best interests of any children involved.

When a Merits Hearing Happens

Most cases settle before reaching a final merits hearing , which saves time and money for the courts and parties. Judges often encourage settlement through:

However, if agreements can’t be reached, the case proceeds to the final merits hearing. There is usually a deadline for concluding discovery and filing pre-trial motions in advance of the hearing date.

How to Prepare for a Merits Hearing

Thorough preparation is critical for a successful merits hearing. Here are some key steps:

What Happens at a Merits Hearing

Though procedures vary by jurisdiction, merits hearings generally follow the same basic format:

Opening Statements

Presentation of evidence, closing arguments, issuing a ruling.

Throughout the merits hearing, the rules of evidence and trial procedure apply. Formal court decorum is maintained, and the parties must adhere to the judge’s directives. Witnesses testify under oath and are subject to penalties for perjury.

Common Issues Addressed at a Merits Hearing

Key roles at the merits hearing.

In addition to the parties themselves, other key participants play important roles:

Court Reporter

Tips for presenting your case at a merits hearing.

To have the best chance of prevailing at a merits hearing, keep these tips in mind:

Thorough preparation and thoughtful presentation of your case at the hearing are critical. Understanding the procedures, participants’ roles, and best practices allows you to navigate the process smoothly. Though emotional and stressful, the merits hearing brings you one step closer to final resolution and closure.

How long do merits hearings usually last?

Can i fire my attorney right before the merits hearing, what happens if new evidence arises after the merits hearing.

If significant new evidence surfaces that could impact the judge’s ruling, you can file a motion to reopen the hearing or set aside the order. But this requires showing good cause, so new evidence should be raised ASAP.

Can I speak directly to the judge outside the courtroom about my case?

No, this is called ex parte communication and is strictly prohibited. All case communications must happen officially during hearings or through attorneys/court staff.

How long does the judge usually take to issue a ruling after the merits hearing?

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De Novo Review

De Novo Attorneys in Wisconsin

Learn about De Novo Review hearings from award-winning Wisconsin family law attorneys

A De Novo Review is held when a parent files a request to be “re-heard” by a trial judge without previous evidence being used from the original hearing.  For spouses who want to alter or reverse the outcome of their original divorce case, this is the closest thing to a true “do over” you can get in family court. Learn the specifics of the De Novo Review process for each Wisconsin county below.

Questions answered in this article : What is a De Novo Review?   | What does De Novo Mean? | What is the difference between a De Novo Review and an appeal?

Jump to a section: De Novo Hearing   | Appeal | De Novo Review

Rules by Counties in Wisconsin: Milwaukee County | Waukesha County | Ozaukee County | Washington County | Sheboygan County | Dodge County | Racine County | Kenosha County | Dane County | Talk to a Divorce Attorney

De Novo Review Lawyers Wisconsin

De Novo Review Standards in Wisconsin

content reviewed by attorney Kelly Dodd

The information provided does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. Talk to a lawyer today for legal advice

If You Disagree With a Decision Made by a Contested Family Court Commissioner Hearing, Consider a De Novo Review.

Frequently in family court, your first hearing takes place before a Family Court Commissioner (FCC).

A Court Commissioner is similar to an assistant judge; they hear requests for temporary orders in new divorces or make initial decisions on requests to modify prior judgments. Additionally, Court Commissioners can often resolve cases without the parties ever having to appear before a trial judge. However, if one party disagrees with the Commissioner’s order, they can appeal it to the trial court judge assigned to their case.

This appeal is known as a De Novo Review.

What is a De Novo Review?

What does de novo mean.

De Novo is Latin for “from new,” and generally refers to starting from the beginning.

A De Novo hearing is held when the aggrieved party files a request for a new hearing before the trial judge. The trial judge then hears the arguments and receives evidence as if the original hearing before the Court Commissioner never took place. It is the closest thing to a true “do over” you can get in family court.

Talk to a De Novo Attorney

Talk to a lawyer.

Disagree with the Circuit Court Commissioner's initial ruling in your divorce case? Schedule a confidential consultation with us or complete the form below.

Build evidence & case

De Novo Reviews are common in the state of Wisconsin, which is why our lawyers are well-versed in the De Novo process and are ready to reposition your divorce case for an outcome that's more favorable to you.

File a De Novo Review Hearing request with a new judge

We'll file a written request within 10 to 15 days of the conclusion of your original divorce case, so that you can be tried by a different judge at your local family court.

What is the difference between a De Novo Review and an appeal?

While an appeal is not a legal do-over, a De Novo Review is considered a second chance at bat.

An appeal and a De Novo Review are two different processes that allow you to possibly alter the outcome of the hearing in the lower court—it’s important to note that in a De Novo Review, both parties are entitled to present evidence and take testimony.

Unlike an appeal, where your case is presented to the Court of Appeals and therefore removed from the circuit court’s jurisdiction, a De Novo Review takes place in the same county court system and is heard by the same judge that is assigned to decide your case.

An appeal in a Wisconsin divorce case, instead of taking place in a county court, moves to one of the four appellate districts designated by geographic area, known as The Wisconsin Court of Appeals. Learn more about what makes the appeals process more formal than a De Novo Review .

In Wisconsin, generally you have the right to file an appeal within 45 to 90 days upon initial entry of the adverse order.

A De Novo Review is a request for your county’s trial court judge to review (and revise) an order made by a court commissioner. In a De Novo Review, the trial court judge will conduct a new hearing as though there had been no hearing or ruling by the court commissioner.

In a divorce, the deadline to file a De Novo Review is generally very short (sometimes only 10-15 days) and varies by county.

If you would like to request a De Novo Review, or if the opposing party has requested a De Novo Review and you would like to defend and protect the Commissioner’s order, call us for a confidential consultation to discuss your options .

De Novo Review Rules Specific to Wisconsin Counties

Typically, each county has its own rules about when and how a request for De Novo Review must be filed. Here are some of the rules that may be relevant to you. Contact us if you don’t see your county here. We practice throughout the state of Wisconsin and would be happy to determine the deadline in your county. Also, please be aware these deadlines can change by local court rule at any time, so please contact us for the most up to date information:

Milwaukee County The motion shall be filed in the branch to which the case is assigned no later than 15 business days after the date of the order, ruling, or decision to be reviewed, or, if the order, ruling or decision is delivered to the parties by mail rather than in person, no later than 18 business days after the date of mailing of the order, ruling, or decision. See Milwaukee County De Novo Rules, here .

Waukesha County A motion for a de novo hearing must be filed within 15 calendar days of the oral decision of the court commissioner, or within 15 calendar days of the mailing of a written decision or order by the court commissioner if the decision or order was not given orally by the court commissioner at the time of the hearing. 15 calendar days are counted consecutively and include weekends and holidays pursuant to Wis. Stat. 801.15(1). See Waukesha County De Novo rules, here .

Ozaukee County No official local rule speaks on this deadline; however, according to Wisconsin Family Law Info, the party seeking the De Novo review from a family court commissioner case in a divorce or paternity shall have 15 days from the date of a hearing, providing they receive a copy of the order immediately, but shall have thirty days after the court commissioner issued the order or ruling in a restraining order. See Ozaukee County De Novo guidelines, here .

Washington County A request for a De Novo hearing of a FCC decision shall be made within 15 calendar days from the date the decision was rendered. See Washington County De Novo rules, here .

Sheboygan County Similar to Ozaukee County, no official local rule speaks on this deadline. Wisconsin Family Law Info states that the party seeking a De Novo Review should file within 10-15 business days.

Dodge County All motions for De Novo Review of a decision of the Family Court Commissioner, pursuant to Sec. 767.13(6) , Stats., must be filed within 30 days of the date of the decision. See Dodge County De Novo rules, here .

Racine County Pursuant to §757.69(8) Wis. Stats., any party who was present at a hearing held by the Family Court Commissioner has the right to have the assigned Circuit Court Judge hold a new hearing upon the filing of a motion within 15 days of the oral decision of the Family Court Commissioner, or within 15 days of mailing of a written decision by the Family Court Commissioner if the order was not orally given by the Family Court Commissioner at the time of the hearing. 15 days shall be counted consecutively and include weekends and holidays pursuant to §801.15(1) Wis. Stats. See Racine County De Novo rules, here .

Kenosha County Pursuant to §757.69(8) Wis. Stats., any party who was present at a hearing held by the Court Commissioner has the right to have the assigned Circuit Court Judge hold a new hearing upon the filing of a motion within 15 days of the oral decision of the Court Commissioner, or within 15 days of mailing of a written decision by the Court Commissioner if the order was not orally given by the Family Court Commissioner at the time of the hearing. Fifteen days shall be counted consecutively and include weekends and holidays pursuant to Wis. Stat. §801.15(1). See Kenosha County De Novo rules, here .

Dane County Any party who was present at the hearing has the right to have the assigned judge hold a new hearing by filing a written request with the judge’s clerk, with a copy sent immediately to the opposing party, within 15 days of the oral decision of the family court commissioner, or within 15 days of mailing of the written decision if the order was not orally given at the time of the hearing. See Dane County De Novo rules, here .

An appeal entails a more formal process than a De Novo Review. Unlike the De Novo Review process which takes place within the same county court system as your case, an appeal moves the case outside of your county court to one of four appellate districts designated by geographic area, known as The Court of Appeals. Wisconsin’s Court of Appeals comprises 16 judges, from four different districts and has headquartered courthouses in Milwaukee, Waukesha, Madison and Wausau.

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Common Family Court Hearings in Texas: Know Before You Go

Last Updated on February 9, 2024 by Turner Thornton

Going to court can be nerve-wracking for anyone, especially when it involves personal family matters. The very thought of sharing details of your private life in a public courtroom can be intimidating and overwhelming.

But the reality is that going to court is often necessary to resolve disputes and protect the interests of the parties involved. In Texas, there are numerous types of family court hearings, all of which serve different purposes. 

In this article, the family law attorneys at Varghese Summersett Family Law Group break down some of the most common family court hearings in Texas, what to expect during these proceedings, and tips on how to prepare.

Family Court Hearings in Texas

Temporary Orders Hearing

A Temporary Orders Hearing is one of the most common family court hearings in Texas, especially when immediate decisions regarding children, property, or finances need to be made. This hearing typically occurs in the early stages of a divorce or child custody case and establishes temporary arrangements until the case can be resolved.

For example, a judge may decide who gets to live in the marital residence while a divorce is pending, who will have temporary primary conservatorship of the children, and who will be paying child support and how much.

During a temporary orders hearing, both parties will have the opportunity to present evidence and make arguments to the judge. The decisions made in this hearing are not final and can be modified later. However, it’s important to be well-prepared for this hearing, as temporary orders can significantly impact family dynamics during the legal process and set precedents that will influence the provisions of a final decree or order. Evidence and arguments presented during this hearing can also set the tone for the rest of the case.

Status Conference

Status Conferences are less formal hearings designed to keep a family court case moving efficiently. During a status conference, the judge may review the case’s progress, set deadlines for exchanging information (formally known as the discovery process ), and discuss any issues that could be resolved without a formal hearing. This is an opportunity for both sides to update the court on any developments and ensure that both sides adhere to the procedural requirements of the case.

In many family law cases, clients are not required to attend status conferences, but it typically depends on the judge to which your case is assigned. More often than not, a status conference is a court setting that your attorney can handle on your behalf. If your attendance is required, your attorney will let you know.

Pretrial Hearing

Pretrial Hearings, also referred to as Pre-trial Conferences , are the formal process by which a case is assigned a final trial date. Depending on the court, these conferences occur either with the judge or the court coordinator. Some judges also require clients to be present. If your attendance is required, your attorney will let you know.

In addition to setting the final trial date, the court will also put deadlines in place for conducting discovery, requesting a jury trial, and requesting a custody evaluation (in cases involving children). In courts that require mediation prior to trial, the court will also set a deadline for mediation and encourage the parties and their attorneys to agree on a mediator. 

Before the final trial date, many judges will require attorneys (and sometimes parties) to appear before the court to report on the status of the case. These conferences tend to be more formal and are often the last meeting before a trial. The goal is to streamline the trial process by addressing as many administrative and legal issues as possible beforehand by resolving procedural issues, clarifying the points of contention, and, in some courts, determining what evidence and witnesses will be presented at trial. Pretrial hearings can significantly influence the trial’s efficiency and are a critical time for strategic planning. 

A trial is the final court hearing in a family court case. At trial, all unresolved issues are presented to the judge or, in rare instances, a jury who will make a final decision. The issues are presented through the parties’ testimony, witness testimony, and the introduction of physical evidence. Once all arguments and evidence have been presented, the judge or jury will deliberate and decide the various contested matters. These decisions can include child custody and visitation, division of property and debts, child support, spousal support, and any other disputes specific to the case.

The judge’s rulings are then formalized in a final order or decree, which legally binds the parties to adhere to the terms set forth by the judge. A final order resolves all outstanding issues in the case, concluding the legal process, except for any future modifications or enforcement actions that may be necessary if circumstances change or if one party fails to comply with the court’s directives.

Prove-Up Hearing

Not all divorces or family law cases are contested. Many are “agreed upon” or “uncontested,” with both parties on the same page about all the issues (sometimes with the help of mediation).

When this occurs, the parties’ attorneys can draft an agreed final decree of divorce (or other order) and file it with the court. While some judges will sign agreed orders without requiring parties to appear, some judges require a “prove-up hearing,” where the parties will answer a few short questions from the judge confirming the agreement. If the agreement satisfies the legal requirements, the judge then approves and signs the agreement, concluding the legal proceedings. 

Prove-up hearings are typically required in cases where one party has defaulted by not responding to or otherwise making an appearance in a case. In a divorce, if a party has not filed a response by the end of the 60-day waiting period, a party can enter a Default Final Decree of Divorce. In any other case (like a Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship or a Modification), a party can enter a default order if the Respondent fails to file a response by the response deadline (the Monday after the 20th day after the party has been served).

At default prove-up hearings, you and your attorney will appear before the District Judge. A court reporter will be present, and your attorney will ask you a series of questions on the record about the terms contained in your proposed order. At the end of the questioning, the Judge may have additional questions or request clarification on some terms contained in your order. As in the cases of agreed orders, if the judge believes that your order satisfies the legal requirements, the judge will then approve and sign the order, concluding the legal proceedings.

Modification Hearing

After a family law matter is finalized, there may be times when changes in circumstances or situations require a modification to the original court order. These modifications almost always involve issues regarding children. In these cases, a modification hearing is held to determine if there are legitimate reasons for modifying, or changing, the existing court order. Some common reasons for modification hearings include changes in financial situations that affect child support, relocation of one party to another state that affects child custody, or changes in the children’s needs that affect visitation schedules.

As with most other court hearings, both parties will have the opportunity to present their case, including evidence and witness testimony, to support their positions. After considering all the evidence, the judge will make a decision. The judge may grant the modification if it’s believed that there has been a material and substantial change in circumstances and it’s in the best interest of the child.

Child Support Modification Hearing in IV-D Court

One of the most common family court hearings in Texas are child support modifications in IV-D Court – commonly referred to as “child support court.”  IV-D courts are specialized courts in counties across Texas that handle child support cases that originate from the Office of the Texas Attorney General.  These hearings are held when a parent seeks to modify the child support order due to a significant change in circumstances, such as a change in income, employment status, or the child’s needs. The Office of the Attorney General also conducts automatic reviews of child support every three years, which necessitate these types of hearings. 

As with any other court hearing, both parties will have the opportunity to present evidence and arguments to support their position for a change in child support. The court will review the new evidence and decide whether to adjust, or modify, the child support order accordingly.

Enforcement Hearing

Court orders are an essential part of all divorce and family law cases, establishing clear guidelines on property division, child custody, support, visitation, and other issues. When one party fails to comply with a court order,  such as not paying child support or violating a custody agreement, the other party can file a motion for enforcement , asking the court to enforce their order. An enforcement hearing is then scheduled where both parties will present evidence and arguments regarding the alleged non-compliance with the court order. The judge will then render a decision. If a violation is found, the court can take enforcement action, which may include fines, community service, or in extreme cases, jail for contempt of court.

We hope you found this information helpful. These are some of the most common family court hearings in Texas, but this is certainly not an exhaustive list. Other types of hearings may be necessary depending on the specific circumstances of a case. If you are facing a court hearing of any kind, it’s imperative to have an experienced family law attorney guide you through the process.  Varghese Summersett Family Law Group can help.

what is a review hearing in family court

Texas Family Court Hearings: Quick Guide

We hope you found this information helpful. These are some of the most common family court hearings in Texas, but this is certainly not an exhaustive list. Other types of hearings may be necessary depending on the specific circumstances of a case.

If you are facing a court hearing of any kind, it’s imperative to have an experienced family law attorney guide you through the process.  Varghese Summersett Family Law Group can help.

Tips for Preparing for Common Family Court Hearings in Texas

Most people dread going to court, but if you have a court date approaching, it’s important to be prepared. Here’s some tips for preparing so that your hearing goes as smoothly as possible:

  • Familiarize Yourself with the Issues It is critical to have a clear understanding of the legal issues at stake and what you are trying to achieve. This guide is a good starting point, but it’s important to consult with your attorney well in advance of the hearing so you know what to expect.
  • Gather Documents & Evidence Gather all relevant documents and evidence needed to support your position and give it to your attorney. This could include financial records, emails or texts from the other party, or any other evidence related to the issue at hand.
  • Prepare for Your Testimony Being on the witness stand in a courtroom can be a very intimidating experience. Make a list of key points you want to make and practice what you want to say with your attorney or trusted person before the hearing.
  • Practice Courtroom Etiquette Don’t get off on the wrong foot with the judge by being late, dressing inappropriately, or being loud or disrespectful. Get there early, dress professionally, and be polite at all times.
  • Trust Your Attorney This may be your first time in a courtroom, but your attorney is at home there. They are there to guide you through the process and help you achieve the best outcome for your case. Trust them and listen to their advice.  And don’t be afraid to ask questions. You can never be too prepared for a court hearing.

Preparation is key, and by following these tips, you can feel more confident heading into your family court hearing.

Facing a Family Court Hearing? Contact Us.

Family law proceedings can be emotionally and legally challenging. That’s why it’s so important to have an experienced family law attorney representing your interests every step of the way. At Varghese Summersett, we have vast experience handling every type of family law hearing in Texas, from temporary orders to modifications, to enforcement.  Contact us today at 817-900-3220 to schedule a consultation and find out how we can help you. We serve clients in Fort Worth, Keller, Southlake, and the surrounding areas.

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Last Updated on February 13, 2024 by Turner Thornton Going through a divorce is a very personal matter, and many couples prefer to keep it

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Last Updated on February 12, 2024 by Turner Thornton Nicole CarrollSenior Counsel Nicole Carroll is a highly experienced Southlake family law attorney who serves as

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Nevada Supreme Court rules public has right to access Family Court hearings

The Nevada Supreme Court has found that rules making some Family Court hearings automatically closed to the public are unconstitutional.

Katelyn Newberg

The Nevada Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the public has a constitutional right to access Family Court proceedings.

The order deemed that a rule change that automatically closed some Family Court hearings violated the public’s First Amendment right to access court hearings.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada first challenged a District Court rule enacted in June 2022 on behalf of Alexander Falconi, who created the Our Nevada Judges news website.

“We acknowledge that there is an interest in protecting litigants’ privacy rights in family law proceedings, as those proceedings apply wholly to their private lives,” four Supreme Court justices wrote in the ruling. “However, a litigant’s privacy interests do not automatically overcome the press’s and the public’s right to access court proceedings.”

Justice Douglas Herndon authored the ruling, along with Chief Justice Elissa Cadish, Justice Kristina Pickering and Senior Justice Abbi Silver. Justices Lidia Stiglich, Ron Parraguirre and Linda Bell dissented.

Falconi filed the petition challenging the court rules after he was denied access to a child custody proceeding. Falconi has said he started the Our Nevada Judges website in 2014 to track statistics on judges, and he later expanded his efforts to videotaping hearings to educate people about the court system.

“I am grateful that the Supreme Court has enabled us to continue in our mission to bridge the gap between the public and the judiciary, by clearing a path for access to very important proceedings within Family Court that were largely inaccessible,” Falconi said in a statement Thursday.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal had also filed a petition challenging rules, arguing before the high court in March that transparency should be upheld within the Family Court system.

The Family Court rules allowed child custody hearings to be closed, without requiring that a judge provide a reason why, and allowed for Family Court proceedings to be closed at the request of one of the involved parties.

“It should be noted that the closure of various family law proceedings can and will be warranted in various instances,” Thursday’s ruling stated. “What we recognize today is the critical importance of the public’s access to the courts and the role that thoughtful, reasoned judicial decision-making plays in identifying the compelling interests at stake and determining: 1) if and when to order closure in any proceedings, be it family, civil, or criminal in nature; and 2) to what extent such closure should apply.”

The justices who dissented from Thursday’s ruling wrote that Family Court cases should not be treated the same as other civil proceedings, and that divorce and child custody proceedings do not have “distinct traditions of openness.”

The dissenting opinion also argued that the justices’ analysis contradicts laws that make proceedings involving adoption and termination of parental rights confidential.

“The Legislature’s critical role in setting forth — with the input and participation of members of the community — what should be open and under what circumstances should not be lightly cast aside,” the dissenting opinion stated.

Chris Peterson, the legal director for the ACLU of Nevada, said Thursday that keeping Family Court hearings open allows the public to hold elected judges accountable. According to a statement from the ACLU of Nevada, the Supreme Court justices adopted the organization’s arguments in Thursday’s opinion.

“Some of the most vulnerable people in our community appear before Family Court judges, and while there are cases in which it may be necessary to close a court hearing, imposing a blanket rule that obscures all Family Court proceedings by allowing any party to close a hearing without cause only serves to incentivize abuse within a Family Court system that is already marred with issues,” Peterson said in an emailed statement. “Sunshine is the best disinfectant.”

Contact Katelyn Newberg at [email protected] or 702-383-0240.

‘We never signed a contract’: Clark County seeks to steer F1 course

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Nevada’s office of the attorney general and the lawyers for the state’s so-called fake electors are battling it out over whether the case can be tried in Clark County.

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what is a review hearing in family court

“The hospitality here, you outdid it,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said. “I think it’s safe to say the NFL looks forward to coming back.”

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Secretary of State Cisco Aguilar wants Allegiant Stadium and other sports complexes to be used for voting locations.

US appeals court: Trump not immune from prosecution in ’20 election interference case

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Supreme Court

Colorado Solicitor General Shannon Stevenson ended her argument at the Supreme Court admitting both parties can’t be allowed to ballot rig.

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There was never a purer demonstration of how traitorous Democrats are about “defending democracy,” or whatever corny phrase they like to use , than what just happened at the Supreme Court.

At the very end of oral arguments in the Colorado case determining whether the state had the right to remove former President Donald Trump’s name from the 2024 ballot, Justice Samuel Alito asked the state’s solicitor general, Shannon Stevenson, what’s going to happen if other states “retaliate” by, say, removing Joe Biden from theirs. Elected officials in at least six states have suggested it as a course of action.

It’s an obvious question that Stevenson either wasn’t prepared for or knew it would expose her state’s case as a tragic joke. “Your honor, I think we have to have faith in our system that people will follow their election processes appropriately, that they will take realistic views of what insurrection is under the 14th Amendment,” she said. “Courts will review those decisions, this court may review some of them.”

What she said next should have resulted in her being laughed out of the room. “But,” she said, “I don’t think that this court should take those threats too seriously in its resolution of this case.”

Alito challenged Stevenson on whether she thought the suggestion of retaliation, coming from places like Florida, Arizona, and Georgia, all potentially swing states in the next election, was truly unfounded.

“Um, I think we have processes—” she said, before being interrupted.

“We should proceed on the assumption that it’s not a serious threat?” said Alito.

Stevenson said there are “institutions in place” that should “handle” such matters. Asked to specify which institutions, she said, “Our states, their own electoral rules, the administrators who enforce those rules.” She also said voters would have to rely on “courts.”

In essence, to believe this entire case by Democrats is an effort to safeguard democracy, rather than rig an election, is to trust that Republicans would never dare try doing the same. If they did, it would ruin Democrats’ plot. Alternatively, if such threats were made good, we should expect enough opposition to render them neutral.

In fairness, a lot of Republicans are naive morons who time and time again respond to Democrats politically kicking their teeth in by saying, “Well, if we do anything back, we’re no better than them.” So, Stevenson’s is not a terrible gamble.

But there’s a long way to go before the election. Attitudes change, and they will rapidly if Colorado is successful and other Democrat states decide to follow the example of unilaterally determining Trump is ineligible to run for a second term, all because he rejected the accuracy of election results (as Democrats do on a routine basis).

The media’s fixation on the Colorado case has focused solely on the legal merits of the case, when the more urgent matter has always been not what happens if it’s ruled legal to keep Trump off a ballot, but what it means for future democratic elections if he is.

There’s a reason until recently it was not only abnormal but unthinkable in America for one political party to use the justice system to exterminate its opponent. The reason is self-evident— mutually assured destruction. If they can do it to us, we can do it to them. It’s what they do in the Congo and every other war-torn state across the globe.

Alito intentionally invoked that perilous likelihood. Stevenson’s response — “I don’t think that this court should take those threats too seriously” — showed just how seriously Democrats take “defending democracy.”

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‘A nightmare’: Special counsel’s assessment of Biden’s mental fitness triggers Democratic panic

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden sidestepped any criminal charges as the investigation into his handling of classified documents concluded, but the political blowback from the special counsel’s report Thursday could prove even more devastating, reinforcing impressions that he is too old and impaired to hold the highest office.

Special counsel Robert Hur’s portrait of a man who couldn’t remember when he served as Barack Obama’s vice president, or the year when his beloved son Beau died, dealt a blow to Biden’s argument that he is still sharp and fit enough to serve another four-year term.

In deciding not to charge Biden with any crimes, the special counsel wrote that in a potential trial, “Mr. Biden would likely present himself to a jury, as he did during our interview with him, as a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.”

It was tough enough for Biden to reassure voters about his health before Hur’s report hit like a thunderclap Thursday afternoon, prompting members of his own party to question whether he could remain the nominee in November.

“It’s a nightmare,” said a Democratic House member who asked to speak anonymously to provide a frank assessment, adding that “it weakens President Biden electorally, and Donald Trump would be a disaster and an authoritarian.”

“For Democrats, we’re in a grim situation.”

Biden wasted little time before attempting to minimize the fallout. He held an unexpected exchange with reporters in the White House on Thursday night, in which he disputed Hur's assessment of his mental acuity.

Biden grew emotional when invoking the part of the report addressing the date of his son's death.

"How in the hell dare you raise that?" Biden said. "Frankly, when I was asked the question I thought to myself, 'It wasn't any of their damn business.' "

‘Beyond devastating’

Polling has long shown that age looms as Biden’s greatest liability in his expected rematch with Trump. A January poll by NBC News found that 76% of voters have major or moderate concerns about Biden’s mental and physical health.

“It’s been a problem since way before this ever happened,” said a longtime Democratic operative who noted that when focus groups are asked to apply one word to Biden, it is often “old.”

Just this week, Biden twice referred to conversations he’s had as president with foreign leaders who’ve long since died. In his remarks Thursday night defending his competency, while talking about the war in Gaza, he referred to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi as being the head of Mexico. White House press aides have downplayed such lapses as the sort of mistake anyone in public life can make.

The Hur report strips away the defenses that Biden’s press operation has used to protect him and raises fresh doubts about whether Biden is up to the rigors of the presidency, Democratic strategists said in interviews.

“This is beyond devastating,” said another Democratic operative, speaking on condition of anonymity to talk candidly about Biden’s shortcomings. “It confirms every doubt and concern that voters have. If the only reason they didn’t charge him is because he’s too old to be charged, then how can he be president of the United States?”

Asked if Hur’s report changes the calculus for Democrats who expect Biden to be the party’s nominee, this person said: “How the f--- does it not?”

Another Biden ally called it “the worst day of his presidency.”

“I think he needs to show us this is a demonstrably false characterization of him and that he has what it takes to win and govern.”

Biden has overwhelmingly won the first primary contests — notching victories in New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada. It would be virtually impossible for anyone else to challenge him at this point; the deadline has passed in more than 30 states to get on primary ballots.

Some of the president’s allies were quick to defend him. They pointed to the timing of the interview with the special counsel — days after Hamas’ attack on Israel, which had captured much of the president’s focus. Others said that in their own dealings with Biden, he shows no sign of infirmity.

“He did so well in this discussion with members,” Rep. Susan Wild, D-Pa., told NBC News after seeing the president on Thursday. “He’s very sharp, no memory issues, and his only stumbling is when he trips over words consistent with his lifelong speech impediment.”

‘Prejudicial language’

Though Biden was fortunate to escape indictment, the special counsel report may give Trump additional fodder as he fights charges for allegedly mishandling classified records at his Mar-a-Lago social club. Republicans are already accusing Biden of benefiting from a double standard . Trump will likely brandish the Hur report as proof that Biden has “weaponized” the Justice Department for political advantage.

What’s more, Democrats will now be hard-pressed to capitalize on Trump’s indictment over retaining classified records. Before Hur’s report came out, Democrats argued that the two cases were very different. Whereas Trump failed to turn over classified records even after he was asked to do so, Biden willingly cooperated with authorities and relinquished all the material he had, Biden allies had argued.

“The public understands the essential difference between presidents or vice presidents like Joe Biden who occasionally behaved in sloppy ways with respect to where they were taking documents, and a president like Trump, who deliberately makes off with hundreds of classified government documents and then hides them and refuses to return them,” Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., said on Wednesday, before the report was released. (Trump has denied any wrongdoing.)

Now, the distinctions may be harder for Biden allies to draw, given that Hur wrote that there was evidence Biden “willfully retained and disclosed classified material after his vice presidency when he was a private citizen.”

The report mentions an instance in February 2017, when he was no longer vice president, when Biden read notes containing classified information “nearly verbatim” to a ghostwriter helping him with his book, “Promise Me, Dad.”

Storage of sensitive government secrets was haphazard. The report describes certain classified records involving the war in Afghanistan in Biden’s Delaware garage inside a “badly damaged box surrounded by household detritus.”

Before the report was released, Biden aides had been bracing for a finding that he had simply been careless in his treatment of classified records, a person familiar with the White House’s thinking said.

The political fallout from the report, though, is likely to be “worse,” this person said. What will stick in people’s minds is what Hur said about Biden’s memory, the person added.

Biden’s lawyers disputed the report’s description of Biden’s forgetfulness.

“We do not believe that the report’s treatment of President Biden’s memory is accurate or appropriate,” two of his lawyers wrote in a letter to Hur. “The report uses highly prejudicial language to describe a commonplace occurrence among witnesses: a lack of recall of years-old events.”

In the hours after the report was released, people close to the Biden campaign rolled out a different rebuttal. Jim Messina, who ran Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign, wrote on X, the site formerly known as Twitter, that Hur is a Republican who “knew exactly how his swipes could hurt Biden politically.”

That’s a familiar argument. Trump has also claimed that law enforcement is trying to sway the election, meaning both sides are now claiming victimization at the hands of partisan prosecutors.

“Hur knew exactly what he was doing here,” Stephanie Cutter, a veteran Democratic operative, wrote on X. “To provide political cover for himself for not prosecuting, he gratuitously leveled a personal (not legal) charge against the president that he absolutely knows is a gift to Trump. And, guess what we are all talking about?”

what is a review hearing in family court

Peter Nicholas is a senior national political reporter for NBC News.

IMAGES

  1. Family court: Attending a full hearing

    what is a review hearing in family court

  2. What To Expect At A Family Court Hearing

    what is a review hearing in family court

  3. Judicial Reviews: a legal challenge to how a decision has been made

    what is a review hearing in family court

  4. What Is an Evidentiary Hearing in Family Court?

    what is a review hearing in family court

  5. What Are the Different Types of Court Hearings?

    what is a review hearing in family court

  6. 5 Things to Know About Your Final Hearing in Family Law Court

    what is a review hearing in family court

VIDEO

  1. Judge Gives Defendant Chances, Regrets It, Drops Hammer!

  2. THE COURT HEARING (teaser)

  3. TELEPHONE GAME with Hearing family but in ASL

  4. Judge Not Buying Excuses!

  5. Same old story JUDGE

  6. Update from NYC hearing where more Family Court judges were appointed

COMMENTS

  1. What happens at a review custody hearing?

    A Review Hearing is essentially a compliance hearing--catching up on what has happened, have the parties abided by any orders in place and, in light of the application for modification by the biological mother, the court could consider her application to change legal and/or physical custody.

  2. Review Hearing at Court

    The six-month review hearing may involve two issues: Compliance with parenting time provisions of the order and whether child support is current. In order to start the proceeding, either party only needs to submit a request for hearing form with the court. This needs to be done within six months of the entry of the decree or order.

  3. Custody Review Hearing

    In court review hearings, prosecutors persist to play role until the convicted party has finished the sentence. Family law attorney Scott Allen handles thee kinds of cases every day and has over twenty-eight years of experience. If you have questions or need assistance call him at (919) 863-4183 or email at [email protected] .

  4. Review Hearing

    The initial court review must be an in-court review within six months from the beginning of the placement episode or no more than 90 days from the entry of the disposition order, whichever comes first. 6 The initial review may be designated as a permanent planning hearing when necessary to meet the time frames of RCW 13.34.145(1)(a) or RCW 13. ...

  5. Understanding the Proceedings of a Family Court Hearing in the United

    A family court hearing is a formal legal proceeding where a judge presides over a case involving family law matters. The primary purpose of this hearing is to gather relevant information, hear arguments from both parties, and make decisions that are in the best interest of the individuals involved, particularly children.

  6. What to Expect During Child Custody Proceedings

    During a child custody proceeding, the following parties will speak: Child (if the child is of an age to make an informed decision) Parents. Witnesses (including workers, school officials, etc.) The parties will testify about their experiences with the child and the parents. The parties may also form an opinion on which parent may be better ...

  7. How does a status hearing work in family law?

    The court often schedules a status hearing about 90-120 days out to give the GAL time to do the investigation and submit the report to the court. At the status hearing, the attorneys will often discuss the issues among themselves and attempt to agree on the next steps in the case. If progress is made, the attorneys and parties may then appear ...

  8. Juvenile Dependency Hearings

    The Court will have a hearing to decide a permanent plan for the child. What happens at other review hearings? The Court can have other hearings to: Check up on the child, To see how the social worker is working with the family, or ; To see how the parents are doing with their case plan. What happens at an Implementation Hearing (W & I 366.26)?

  9. What is a six month Review Hearing?

    Every family court Order, whether it is a divorce, custody or parenting time case, that deals with parenting time, legal custody, physical custody or child support has forms attached to it. ... The six month Review Hearings must be completed and filed with Court Administration, which schedules a Review Hearing for the parents and the judge ...

  10. Judicial Review Hearing

    Judicial review upon exhaustion of administrative remedies. § 63-7-1440. Judicial review. An appellant seeking judicial review shall file a petition in the family court within 30 days after the final decision of DSS. The appellant shall serve a copy of the petition upon DSS. The family court shall conduct a judicial review in accordance with ...

  11. Guide to Dependency Court

    These court hearings are dependency status review hearings, which in different courts can also be called status review hearings, periodic review hearings, or DSR hearings. The purpose of each review hearing is pretty much the same: it is for the court to decide if you have been really working on your case plan and if it is safe for your child ...

  12. PDF SIX-MONTH REVIEW HEARING REQUEST INSTRUCTIONS

    Stat. § 518.1781 (2006). The form you will need to use to request a review hearing is attached. Purpose of Review Hearing: The purpose of the review hearing is to make certain parties are following the court order regarding parenting time and the payment of child support. The review hearing IS NOT an opportunity to present any other issues or ...

  13. How does a pretrial hearing work in family law?

    A pretrial hearing is a key event in a family law case. It's the point at which many cases are either resolved or placed on the track toward a trial, which is typically the most time-consuming and expensive phase of a case. Leading up to the pretrial hearing, the parties are expected to have met beforehand.

  14. Documents That Can Help You Win Child Custody

    Visitation Schedules. Parents should also keep a log of visitation between the child and the child's other parent. A visitation schedule log should include when visits occur, where they occur, how long they last, and their frequency. A non-custodial parent who's trying to get custody can utilize this information in court to prove a continuous ...

  15. What Are the Different Types of Court Hearings?

    Review Hearing . As your sentencing conditions are due, you'll be set for a review hearing. ... For more information on the different types of court hearings contact the court appearance professionals at Attorneys on Demand today! Attorneys On Demand. t: (888)545-5775 or (818)591-1766. f: (818)591-5854. [email protected].

  16. What is a Review Hearing?

    Many courts do a review hearing after sentencing to see how you have been doing. However, yours is prior to trial. So, I am assuming the judge just wants to check the status of both parties before the trial starts. This is very common. The lawyers will hash out issues they may have. Legal Consult Recommended.

  17. What will happen at the hearing?

    Review. A hearing to see how things are going. Generally the court will only make directions to get the matter ready for a trial or orders that are agreed. Return date hearing. Sometimes an injunction is made before the person affected by it is told. If that happens the court will list a hearing so they can object to the making of the order if ...

  18. What is a Permanency Hearing in Family Court?

    A permanency hearing, also known as a permanent placement review hearing, is a critical court hearing that occurs in child welfare cases. Permanency hearings are held periodically after a child has been removed from their home and placed into foster care. The hearings are a key part of the process of finding a permanent home for a child in ...

  19. What is a Merits Hearing in Family Court?

    Merits Hearing/Trial - This is the final evidentiary hearing where parties present evidence and testimony to the judge, who makes final rulings. The merits hearing or trial is the culmination of the family court process. This is when the parties have the opportunity to present their full case to the judge for a final binding decision.

  20. De Novo Review & WI Divorce Appeals · Karp & Iancu

    Pursuant to §757.69(8) Wis. Stats., any party who was present at a hearing held by the Family Court Commissioner has the right to have the assigned Circuit Court Judge hold a new hearing upon the filing of a motion within 15 days of the oral decision of the Family Court Commissioner, or within 15 days of mailing of a written decision by the ...

  21. What Is a De Novo Hearing?

    De novo hearings are used in family court appeals and child support cases heard by a county child support commission. The Latin term " de novo " means "from the new.". It refers to a hearing in which another court or judge decides a case on the facts without deferring to the other court's decision. De novo hearings occur in appeals.

  22. PDF Division V Family Law Chapter 1 General B

    Moving papers must be submitted to the court no later than 12:00 p.m. the court day before the hearing and served on all parties by 2:00 p.m. the court day before the hearing. In addition to the documents required by the California Rules of Court 5.151, the moving papers must include a completed form Ex Parte Application and Order -

  23. What is a review hearing?

    Typically, a review hearing (as opposed to a violation hearing) is the court "checking in on" your case to determine whether you have complied or not. If you've been summoned to appear, it's possible that the court has some questions about that. On the other hand, if you are on a deferred sentence, and the hearing is scheduled for about the ...

  24. Common Family Court Hearings In Texas: Know Before You Go

    Temporary Orders Hearing. A Temporary Orders Hearing is one of the most common family court hearings in Texas, especially when immediate decisions regarding children, property, or finances need to be made. This hearing typically occurs in the early stages of a divorce or child custody case and establishes temporary arrangements until the case can be resolved.

  25. What Is a Child Placement Review Hearing?

    Child placement review hearings are review hearings wherein a child's living arrangement is evaluated once he has been placed into foster care. More specifically, the review board can make the following determinations in child welfare cases: Whether the child's current placement is safe and appropriate for his or her needs.

  26. Family Court hearings can be public, Nevada Supreme Court rules

    The Family Court rules allowed child custody hearings to be closed, without requiring that a judge provide a reason why, and allowed for Family Court proceedings to be closed at the request of one ...

  27. Democrat Lawyer Admits At Supreme Court That Only One Party Can Be

    It's an obvious question that Stevenson either wasn't prepared for or knew it would expose her state's case as a tragic joke. "Your honor, I think we have to have faith in our system that ...

  28. 'A nightmare': Special counsel's assessment of Biden's mental fitness

    In deciding not to charge Biden with any crimes, the special counsel wrote that in a potential trial, "Mr. Biden would likely present himself to a jury, as he did during our interview with him ...

  29. What the border bill would and wouldn't do

    At a time when problems at the border often grab headlines, the compromise proposed in the Senate offers a rare list of suggested solutions with a bipartisan bent.