(a) Case management tracks. All domestic relations actions, as defined in Rule 26.1, will be set for a case management conference before the court, or a case manager assigned by the court, after an answer to the action is filed. At the case management conference, the court or a case manager assigned by the court must determine into which of the following tracks the case will be placed:
(1) Track 1: Standard Track. This category includes all cases that do not require expert witnesses or complex discovery. The court will certify a Track 1 case directly for trial. If the parties have not yet mediated, the court will order the parties to participate in good faith mediation before the trial takes place.
(2) Track 2: Complex Discovery Track. This category includes cases with complex issues that require extraordinary discovery, such as valuation of a business. For a Track 2 case, at the case management conference the court will set a discovery schedule with input from the parties and schedule the case for a pretrial hearing.
(3) Track 3: Significant Custody Dispute Track. This category includes cases with significant custody disputes, including custody disputes involving allegations of child abuse or domestic violence. For a Track 3 case, at the case management conference the court and parties will address: 1) whether a custody evaluation is necessary, and, if so, the form of the evaluation and appointment considerations; and 2) whether appointment of a private guardian ad litem is necessary, and if so, the scope of the appointment and apportionment of costs. The court will prepare and issue any resulting orders appointing a custody evaluator or guardian ad litem and schedule the case for either a pretrial hearing or a custody evaluation settlement conference.
(b) The court may set additional hearings as necessary under Rules 16 or 101. Nothing in this rule prohibits a court from assigning a case to more than one track, at the court’s discretion, or otherwise managing a case differently from the above guidelines for good cause.
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