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Dissolution & Paternity Case Processing

It is becoming difficult to accommodate all requests for specially set hearings. I am adopting procedures to timely resolve cases and use hearing time efficiently.

1. Friday Case Management/Motion Docket.
Case management conferences, routine and uncontested hearings (15 and 30 minute hearings) will be heard on a Friday docket. The case management docket will be conducted every Friday starting at 8:30 am. The motion docket will be conducted every Friday starting at 10:00 am. The court will set up to 10 hearings on the motion docket. Hearings will be first come first served. Telephone participation during the motion calendar will be accommodated beginning at 10:00 am. No telephone participation will be permitted without a timely agreed order granting a motion to participate by telephone.

2. Case Management Conference Prior to Hearings Longer Than One Hour.
Contested final hearings and hearings longer than one hour will not be set without a prior case management conference and case management order establishing the process including mediation.

During specially set hearings, both sides will be limited to the amount of time chosen or ordered and each side will get half the allotted time. The court will account for the time each side chooses to devote to direct and cross examination.

Communication with opposing counsel and a statement as to opposing counsel's position is required before a hearing will be set on any motion.

If setting for case mgt, make sure that the Notice specifies whether the CMC is to address a final or a non-final hearing. Parties should title the notice “Case Management Conference for Final Hearing” or “Case Management Conference for Non-Final Hearing”.

If a case is set for a case management hearing for a contested final hearing or a contested evidentiary hearing, both lawyers and both clients must be present unless the court orders otherwise.

3. No Contested Motions Submitted to Chambers Prior to Filing
We cannot accept contested motions, including those denominated “emergency,” prior to filing with the clerk's office. The clerk will bring motions marked “emergency” to chambers after filing. Do not telecopy motions to the judge's office. The clerk's office has been instructed not to provide this office with copies of motions until counsel calls the judge's office with a request for a hearing. Once a hearing is set the judge will make arrangements to timely review the file in preparation for the hearing.

4. Cover Letter Required with Uncontested Motion and Proposed Order
Agreed orders, orders submitted at the judge's direction after a hearing and uncontested motions may be submitted directly to the judge's office. A cover letter is required with each proposed order submitted stating whether the form of the order is agreed by opposing counsel or pro se party. No proposed order will be executed without a cover letter and the letter must be served on opposing counsel or pro se party. No agreed motion will be considered without a proposed, agreed order. Judge Sjostrom resolves every uncontested, agreed motion every day, so any delay in receiving an executed order is indication of a problem or error.