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Utah Family Court Task Force

Final Report To The Utah Judicial Council

December 16, 1994

Published by The Administrative Office of the Courts
230 South 500 East Suite 300
Salt Lake City, Utah 84102
(801) 578-3800

I. Table of Contents i

II. Task Force Members v

III. Report Summary 1

IV. Introduction 17

A. Formation of Task Force 17
B. Models Considered 17
C. Input Process 18
D. Modifications of Preliminary Recommendations
1. Effective Date
2. Assignment of Judicial Applicants to the Family Department 20
E. Report Nomenclature 20
V. Need for a Family Department 25
A. Unique Nature of Family Disputes 25
B. Lack of Delay in Utah Trial Courts 26
C. Fragmented Jurisdiction 26
D. Multiplicity of Cases Affecting a Family 27
E. Specialization 27
F. Improve the Delivery of Justice to Families 28
1. Improved Case Management 28
2. Improved Information 29
3. Improved Coordination of Cases and Services 29
4. Nonadversarial Procedures 30
G. Conclusion 30
VI. Cases Assigned to the Family Department 33
A. Cases Recommended 33
B. Cases Not Recommended 35
1. Intrafamily Crimes 35
2. Minor Traffic Offenses 36
VII. The Family Department and the Delivery of Services 39
A. Family Department as a Court of Law 39
B. Dissolution of the Marriage 39
C. Delivery and Coordination of Services 40
1. Introduction 40
2. Advocacy for Services 41
3. Delivery of Services 42
a) Services in the Marketplace 43
b) Services within State Government 43
c) Employee Services or Contract Services 43
4. Alternatives 44
5. Separation of Judges from Program Supervision 45
6. List of Programs 45
VIII. Family Department Organization and Operations 49
A. Department of the District Court 49
B. Permanent Judge Assignment 50
1. Burnout 50
2. Fiefdoms 51
3. Equivalent Departments 51
4. Generalist Judge 52
5. Disadvantages of Rotation 52
6. Impediments to Calendar and Case Management 52
7. Advocacy for Programs 53
8. Alternatives to Rotation and Permanent Assignment 53
9. Recommendation: Permanent Assignment 54
C. Administration 54
1. Judicial Council 55
2. Board of Judges 55
3. Presiding Judge 55
4. Statewide Administrator 56
5. District Executive 56
6. Clerk of the Court 56
D. Operations 56
 1. Case Management 56
a) Case Management Objectives 56
b) Case Management Functions 57
(1) Clerical 57
(2) Screening 58
(3) Case Coordination 59
(4) Service Coordination 60
(5) Information to Parties 62
(6) Training for Case Managers 62
(7) Periodic System Evaluations 63
2. Enforcement of Court Orders 63
3. One Family -- One Judge: Direct Calendaring 65
a) Master Calendar 66
b) Individual Calendar 66
c) Direct Calendar 66
d) Guidelines for Direct Calendar Case Assignment 69
4. Mediation of Domestic Disputes 69
a) Promise of Mediation 69
b) Process of Mediation 70
c) Concerns about Mediation 71
d) Qualification of Mediators 72
e) Other Methods of Alternative Dispute Resolution 72
5. Public Trial and Records 73
6. Appeals 76
7. Hours of Operation 76
8. Facilities 76
9. Rules of Procedure 77
IX. Transition to a Family Department of the District Court 81
A. Local Planning 81
B. Incumbent Judges 81
1. Self Selection of Assignment 82
2. Rotation 82
3. Recommendation: Prospective Application of the Family Department 82
C. Incumbent Court Commissioners and Staff 84

X. Family Department Caseload 87

XI. Appendix A: History of Utah Juvenile Court Studies 91

XII. Appendix B: Family Court Features of Other States and National Standards 95

A. Other States 95
B. ABA Standards Relating to Court Organization 96
C. National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges 97
D. Family Courts: An Effective Judicial Approach to Resolution of Family Disputes by Robert W Page 99

XIII. Appendix C: Bibliography 101

I. Task Force Members

James B. Lee 
Parsons, Behle & Latimer 
Task Force Chair
Hon. Judith M. Billings 
Utah Court of Appeals 
Task Force Vice-Chair
Hon. J. Mark Andrus 
Second District Juvenile Court
Hon. L. Kent Bachman 
Second District Juvenile Court
Frederick N. Green 
Green & Berry
Hon. Leslie A. Lewis 
Third District Court
David E. Littlefield 
Littlefield & Peterson
Hon. Gordon J. Low 
First District Court
Hon. Sharon P. McCully 
Third District Juvenile Court
Rosalind J. McGee 
Citizen Representative
Russell Y. Minas 
Mooney & Associates
Mary T. Noonan, Director 
Division of Family Services
Hon. Frederic M. Oddone 
Third District Juvenile Court
Hon. Boyd L. Park 
Fourth District Court
Grethe B. Peterson 
Citizen Representative
Hon. Sandra N. Peuler 
Third District Court
Kim Rilling 
Rilling & Associates
Hon. Joanne L. Rigby 
Salt Lake County Justice Court
Craig M. Snyder 
Utah Bar Commission
Hon. Louis G. Tervort 
Sixth District Juvenile Court
Billy L. Walker
Office of the Attorney General
Roy W. Whitehouse 
Court Executive 
Third District Juvenile Court
Kellie F. Williams 
Corporon & Williams
Timothy M. Shea 
Task Force Counsel
Vihn Lee 
Task Force Intern

The Utah State Courts mission is to provide the people an open, fair, efficient, and independent system for the advancement of justice under the law.

Page Last Modified: 5/19/2010

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