Monday, March 23, 2009

Important Rule Change Affecting Family Law

Attorneys and civilians both need to take a look at Supreme Court Seeks Public Comment as it Considers Clarifying What Constitutes Pro Bono Work and a Rule Change Regarding Change of Venue from The Indiana Law Blog:

"The Rules Committee is also recommending that after a final decree in dissolution of marriage and paternity cases, a party shall not be entitled to a change of judge in connection with a petition to modify, except where a legally recognized reason for a change of venue is shown."

Here is the notice and request for comments. These are due April 30, 2009.
Why the Rules Committee thinks this Rule needs changed is beyond me. Well, it is beyond a response that is polite.

As an attorney, I like this Rule for two reasons. Unlike civil suits, family law cases go on for years. Not that they are in court all that time but there may be multiple hearings over the years. Not every judge cannot help but build up some presumptions about parties that they see often. A fresh set of eyes can be a help.

My second reason comes in those cases where I am the one filing a modification and may be strictly preferential. For example, I have what is for me an out of county case and I am filing a change of judge in a modification case. The county is a small one and I just feel more comfortable with not having the current judge on the case.

I hope I have explained why the current rule has its importance. If you want to take a hand in the judicial rulemaking process, just follow the link above.

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