FAMILY DIVISION MAGISTRATE PILOT PROJECT

STATE OF MAINE SUPREME JUDICIAL COURT

ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER JB-06-01 (JB-06-01)

Effective: May 1, 2006

WHEREAS, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court has been authorized to establish a pilot project in which one or more Family Law Magistrates have jurisdiction to hear and dispose of all elements of a divorce action when both parties consent;

WHEREAS, Family Law Magistrates have not previously been authorized to issue final orders in contested matters, other than Child Support Orders;

NOW, THEREFORE, it is ORDERED that the Family Law Magistrates are authorized to hear and dispose of all elements of a divorce action with children when both parties consent, subject to the Project Rules appended hereto which shall govern the pilot project.

For the Court,
LEIGH I. SAUFLEY
Chief Justice Maine Supreme Judicial Court
Promulgation Date: April 13, 2006


A- 1 APPENDIX A TO JB-06-1

PROJECT RULES FOR THE FAMILY LAW MAGISTRATE PILOT PROJECT AUTHORIZED BY 4 M.R.S. § 183(4)

As a project exception to the Rules for the Family Division of the Maine District Court, Family Law Magistrates sitting in specified locations may exercise jurisdiction to hear and dispose of all elements of a divorce action with children when both parties consent.

RULES:

  1. Purpose of Pilot Rules: These rules govern the Family Law Magistrates' exercise of jurisdiction to hear and dispose of all elements of a divorce action with children when both parties consent.
  2. Scope of Pilot Project:
    1. Family Law Magistrates sitting in the following courts are authorized to hear and dispose of all elements of a divorce action with children when both parties consent provided that the Family Law Magistrate determines that is reasonably likely that the hearing can be completed within two hours:
      1. Houlton
      2. Bangor
      3. Waterville
      4. Lewiston
      5. (Bridgton
    2. In a divorce action in which a status conference or other hearing before a Family Law Magistrate has already been scheduled, Family Law Magistrates sitting in the following courts are authorized to hear and dispose of all elements of a divorce action with children when both parties consent provided that the Family Law Magistrate can complete the hearing within the time allocated to the case: A- 2
        1. Caribou
        2. Presque Isle
        3. Dover
        4. Ellsworth
        5. Skowhegan
        6. Rumford
        7. Rockland
        8. West Bath
        9. Augusta
        10. Portland
        11. Springvale
        12. Biddeford
  3. Procedure:
    1. If both parties agree, they may request that a Family Law Magistrate hear and dispose of all elements of their divorce action with children. The parties shall submit their request on the form, appended hereto as Form A. Neither party shall file such request unless the other party is in agreement, and has signed the form. This shall be the exclusive means of submitting a request.
    2. Upon receipt of the completed form, the clerk, in consultation with the Family Law Magistrate, may schedule a contested hearing before a Family Law Magistrate.
  4. Appeals: All appeals from or objections to final orders issued by a Family Law Magistrate pursuant to the Pilot Project shall be governed by Rule III(G) of the Rules for the Family Division of the Maine District Court.
  5. Miscellaneous: Matters not otherwise addressed in these project rules shall be governed by the Rules for the Family Division of the Maine District Court and the Maine Rules of Civil Procedure.

A- 3 FORM A TO APPENDIX A TO JB-06-1