Family Law Bench Book
SCHEDULING FRIEND OF THE COURT EVALUATOR APPOINTMENTS, MEDIATION AND REFEREE HEARING DATES
You can schedule an appointment or hearing date in person at the Friend of the Court office, by calling 222-3341 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You will need to provide the following:
-Case name and number
-Both parties’ addresses and phone numbers
-Attorney names and phone numbers
- Any special instructions on the referral
For Evaluator appointments, one party contacts the Friend of the Court office and obtains an appointment. An appointment will then be set automatically for the other party and a notice sent to them. We try to schedule joint appointments for the parties, or close in time, if not one after the other. Attorneys are permitted to attend Evaluator appointments with their clients.
For referee hearing dates one person should contact the Friend of the Court office to obtain dates, then confirm with the opposing side and confirm a final date with the Friend of the Court office. Although dates can be scheduled by e-mail, we will not coordinate the parties’ available dates, you must agree to one date and then let us know. Attorneys of record are required to attend referee hearings.
Appointments will be scheduled under the following conditions:
Evaluation appointments may be scheduled in all divorce cases (DM or DO), upon filing of a complaint for a divorce. No special order of referral is necessary. The evaluator may consider all "standard" issues, including custody, parenting time, child support and spousal support. Non-standard issues raised by the parties may also be addressed, although the Evaluators do not issue recommendations on the property division.
Orders of referral are required before scheduling evaluator appointments in all other matters, including post-judgment motions, DS, DP, DC (etc) cases, whether the parties are represented by counsel or not. The filing of a motion does not in itself satisfy the requirement for an order of referral in these matters.
Formal mediations do not require a referral, but simply the written agreement of both parties to proceed. The parties should call or e-mail the scheduling clerk for the necessary forms and to schedule a mediation appointment.
Referee hearings are scheduled upon order of referral only and the Friend of the Court office must have a copy of the order before a date will be given.