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Do you want to know your judge and/or commissioner? View their bench books.

You’ve filed for divorce or had a divorce case filed against you. For most people, this is their first contact with the legal system. This is new and unknown, and so it’s frightening. The best (and first) antidote to the fear is becoming informed and knowledgeable about what you’re in for.

A good place to start is knowing about your divorce case’s judge and/or commissioner. Many judges and commissioners have a profile in the “Judge’s Bench Book,” which is provided by the Litigation Section of the Utah State Bar:

http://litigation.utahbar.org/benchbooks.html

The Judges’ Benchbook provides information on both trial judges and domestic relations commissioners who have agreed to provide information about how they approach a case and how they like to see a case proceed. You and your attorney can learn how to present your case in the way your judge and commissioner prefer. You can also learn what behaviors and practices to avoid.

So read the profiles on your judge and commissioner in the Bench Book. Tell your attorney about it too (not every attorney knows about the Bench Book). Get to know your judge and commissioner better so that you can work with them better and thus improve your chances for success.

The Litigation Section’s web page features other useful resources in addition to the Bench Book, so after you read the Bench Book profiles for your judge and commissioner, spend a little more time checking out those other resources too. A few you might find most useful include:

http://litigation.utahbar.org/50_tips.html

  • a list of 50 important tips for those who have never been to court before and that you would be wise to know before you appear in court

http://litigation.utahbar.org/assets/lawyers_write_persuasive.pdf

  • an article about what judges and commissioners really want to know (and really pay attention to) in the written arguments

http://litigation.utahbar.org/helpful-resources.html#Other

  • you can find links to the Utah rules of Civil Procedure, rules of Evidence, and other information here

http://litigation.utahbar.org/practice_pointers.html

  • a little “inside knowledge” about how the courts work that you’d be wise to review

https://www.utahbar.org/public-services/

  • this page can help you find a lawyer, find legal clinics, available pro bono assistance, and other public services provided by the Utah State Bar

Utah Family Law, LC | divorceutah.com | 801-466-9277

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