In Utah, it is common for those struggling with a divorce case to leave the courtroom feeling that their voice went unheard. Part of this stems from the use of the domestic commissioner system in Utah’s more populous counties. Many family law hearings in Utah occur in front of a domestic commissioner. The commissioner typically holds abbreviated hearings where family law attorneys summarize evidence.
The lawyers at Christensen Law are divorce attorneys in Utah. We assist clients with divorce, custody, and child support cases. Through our experience, we have found a number of ways to help
our client’s voices be heard. Below, we provide some key tips. However, each case has it’s own challenges. For advice specific to your case, feel free to contact us for a free consultation.
Work Closely with Your Attorney to Draft a Written Statement
Domestic commissioner and judges often review written statements submitted prior to the hearing. Sometimes, they are better at reading than listening. Working with your attorney to write out what you want the commissioner or judge to know can help your case. Your voice in the writing will be persuasive. An attorney can help ensure that what you tell the court is relevant and helpful.
Prepare for and Request an Evidentiary Hearing Before the Judge
Sometimes you will not be persuasive in writing. Or, perhaps the other side is able to overstate their case in their writing. If you are unhappy with the commissioner’s recommendation, you may request an evidentiary hearing before the judge. On custody issues and certain others, the judge is obligated to allow an evidentiary hearing. At the hearing, you will at least be able to cross-examine the other side about their statement.
Gather, Summarize, and Present Evidence
Complaining about never getting parent time or being child support goes only so far. If you want to drive the point home, gather evidence. If the evidence is voluminous, prepare a summary. Backing up your claims will help them carry more weight.