Regarding: An Objection to the Commissioner’s Recommendations Has Been Filed; Now What?
This is a letter explaining what happens now that an Objection to the Commissioner’s Recommendations has been filed. This letter is a general explanation of the process and not necessarily specific to your case. If you would like greater explanation regarding this process, please, feel free to call us and ask any questions you may have. We will be happy to speak with you.
As you know, a Commissioner is not quite a judge, but acts as a de facto judge in family law cases. Because of this, most family-law hearings are held in front of Commissioners, whether the hearing is a Temporary Order, Motion for Order to Show Cause, Protective Order, Temporary Restraining Order, Pretrial, or the like.
Because a Commissioner is not quite a Judge, either party can file an Objection if he or she believes the Commissioner made a mistake and made legally incorrect Findings and Recommendations. This choice has been made, and an Objection has been filed in your case.
What happens now really depends on how your particular Judge wants to handle things. In most family law situations, we have the right to request a hearing with the Judge to present evidence and legal argument regarding why the Commissioner was wrong. Judges usually grant these requests for hearings, although they sometimes review the documents parties provide and make a decision based solely on those documents.
If the Judge schedules a hearing, he or she has pretty wide discretion to decide how evidence will be presented at the hearing. What this means is the Judge can decide live testimony is not necessary, and we can offer evidence by proffer (the same way evidence was presented to the Commissioner). This happens more often when the Objection is based more on legal arguments and less on evidence. In many cases, however, the Judge will want to treat the hearing more like a trial and will require live testimony.
Since each Judge treats Objection hearings differently, we will file (or already have filed) a Motion asking the Judge to clarify how he or she would like to take evidence. When we know how your Judge would like to handle the hearing, we will let you know and discuss the best way to approach things.
One thing we are certain of is the Judge will give us a decision regarding the Objection. This is usually done at the end of the hearing. Sometimes, however, the issues are complicated enough that the Judge will take everything under advisement and provide a written decision. If this happens, the Judge has up to 180 days to make a decision. It rarely if ever takes that long. Usually, it takes around four weeks.
Hopefully, this letter has helped explain how the objection process works. If you have any questions regarding your case, please call 801-685-9999.
/s/ Marco Brown