Divorce Attorney - The Law Behind Hearing Officers in Louisiana

Jan 8 15:43 2012 Will Beaumont Print This Article

A number of parishes use hearing officers to expedite family law. This article goes over the legal support for such administrators from the perspective of a divorce attorney.

For a divorce attorney,Guest Posting hearing officers are a standard method of resolving family law disputes. They are often the first interaction that litigants will have with the court system and are designed to reach amicable settlements of family law cases. This is usually in the best interests of the family as it makes it so that there is not an overwhelming amount of animosity caused by a trial in open court. This is not to say that it is not parties and their lawyers are not contentious just because they are before a hearing officer, it simply gives the litigant a good understanding of where they stand and how the court is likely to rule without going to trial.

Whether a court utilizes hearing officers depends on the local rules of that particular court. The Louisiana Supreme Court established rules for the functioning of district court, family courts, and for other courts in its jurisdiction. These rules do not require a parish in Louisiana to use hearing officers, but many parishes augment the rules proscribed by the Supreme Court and sometimes by establishing a system for hearing officers to resolve domestic disputes without clogging the general docket of the district court judge.

The law regarding hearing officer's can be found in Revised Statutes to the Louisiana Civil Code and specifically in title 46 section 236.2 part C. The title to this law is regarding an expedited process for determining paternity and child support but the law allows for much more and the current system of hearing officers for family law throughout the state is evidence of this. This includes things such as child support, spousal support, child custody, paternity, as well as numerous incidental matters regarding family law. It is generally thought that a hearing officer does not have the power to grant the judgment that actually ends the marriage.

A hearing officer typically attempts first to mediate whatever dispute is before the court. If this is not possible, then next step is to make recommendations (i.e. to act as an arbiter). This recommendation is simply an interim judgment, but will become final if not objected to by the client or their divorce attorney within the time set by the court, which is typically three days.

One of the benefits of a court utilizing such an intermediary system to handle family law cases is that it allows clients and the divorce attorney to move their cases much quicker than otherwise. On the other hand, one drawback is that if there is an objection to the recommendation that is made, this could mean that it will become more expensive and time consuming as the parties will then have a second court date before the district court. This can sometimes be mitigated as district courts will sometimes allow litigants to bypass the hearing officer system all together if it is apparent that an objection will be made to the recommendation made, regardless of what it is.

Will Beaumont is a lawyer in New Orleans. This article is strictly informational and not legal advice.

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Will Beaumont
Will Beaumont

If you would like more information from a New Orleans divorce attorney about this topic, contact Will Beaumont. You can contact him through www.beaumontdivorce.com.

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