Under Fifth Judicial District Court Rules, unless dispensed by the Court in advance, in all contested domestic relations cases both a Pretrial Conference with the Judge in whose division the case is assigned, and a Hearing Officer Conference, with Hearing Officer, Dennis Stewart, are required. Contact information for scheduling Hearing Officer Conferences is as follows:
To schedule Hearing Officer Conference:
- Robin Boutwell
Phone (318) 435-8000
Fax (318) 435-8008
- J. Dhu Thompson, Hearing Officer
Phone (318) 728-9699
Fax (318) 728-9609
Applicable Court Rules
Rule 27.1, Scheduling
A. Original Fixing. Unless dispensed with by the Court in advance, the mover in a contested domestic relations case shall attach to the initial pleading an order and a fixing form setting a Pre-Trial Conference before the judge to whom the case has been divisioned. The judge will then set a date for the Pre-Trial Conference, which may be the next regularly-scheduled civil motion hour for that division in the parish where the case is pending. At the Pre-Trial Conference, the Court shall determine whether a hearing on the rule to show cause or trial on the merits is necessary, and if so, fix a trial date and may fix a Hearing Officer Conference. The Court may also issue an Interim Order to be in effect until the Hearing Officer Conference (if scheduled) or trial.
B. Pre-Trial Conference. At the Pre-Trial Conference, the Court may set the case for a Hearing Officer Conference, to take place at least ten (10) days before the hearing on the Rule to Show Cause trial on the merits.
See Part 2. Title IV, Chapter 35, Rule 35.0, Paragraph (I)
I. At the Hearing Officer Conference, the Hearing Officer will make findings of disputed and undisputed facts and recommendations regarding the issues that are before the Court. The parties will then have seven (7) days, inclusive of weekends and holidays, to file a written objection with the Office of the Clerk of Court for the Parish in which the case is pending. A party's objection shall be directed to specific recommendations and shall provide legal and/or factual basis for the objection. A party filing an objection shall be obligated to provide the Hearing Officer and all parties with a copy of the objection. If all or part of the Hearing Officer's recommendations are not objected to in writing, then those which are not objected to may be adopted by the Court. The District Judge to whom the case is assigned will decide the issues that are objected to, at trial.
See Part 3. Title IV, Chapter 35, Rule 35.0, Paragraph (K)
K. Pre-Trial Memorandum. Unless dispensed with by the Court in advance, all parties in all contested domestic relations cases which have been set for hearing on a rule to show cause or a trial on the merits as set forth above, shall submit to the Court a Pre-Trial Memorandum not later than five (5) working days prior to trial. Failure to timely file memoranda may, at the Court's discretion, result in sanctions including, but not limited to, depriving that party of any right to oral argument, removing the case from the docket, or precluding that party from calling witnesses not listed or introducing exhibits not listed.
The original copy of the Memorandum shall be filed with the Clerk of Court in the parish where the action is pending. A courtesy copy shall be mailed to the presiding judge at that judge's office address. A copy shall be mailed to all opposing counsel.
The Memorandum shall contain:
- A statement of facts the attorney thinks the evidence will show.
- In the event the attorney believes the facts will be controverted, a statement as to the controverted issues of fact.
- A brief statement as to contested issues of law, and case citations for those matters which the attorney believes support his/her position in the matter.
- Citation of any other applicable cases which the attorney wishes to call to the Court's attention.
- A schedule of exhibits including a list and brief description of the exhibits to be offered.
- A list of witnesses including names and addresses and a brief summary of the anticipated nature of the testimony of each witness.
See Part 4. Title IV, Chapter 35, Rule 35.1
Rule 35.1 Notices and Exchange of Information
A. Spousal Support. All pleadings for spousal support shall be accompanied by a sworn affidavit executed by the party tiling said rule or petition, an attested copy of which shall be served upon the defendant, setting forth an itemized list of the following:
- Total gross monthly income.
- Itemized payroll deductions.
- Total itemized monthly expenditures.
- Itemization of assets and their liquidity.
Prior to the time fixed for trial or Hearing Officer Conference (if scheduled), or with the answer filed by the defendant, whichever is earlier, the defendant shall file in the record and with opposing counsel, a sworn affidavit setting forth the above itemized list as required of the petitioner or mover.
B. Child Support. In all pleadings for child support, increases or decreases thereof, each party shall file a verified income statement as required by R.S. 9:315.2 showing gross income and adjusted gross income. The verified income statements must he filed at least five (5) days prior to the time of the trial, or Hearing Officer Conference, and a copy of the statement shall be provided to the other party. Supporting documentation, including each party's most recent federal tax return, shall be provided to the other party, at that time, but shall not be filed.
C. Contempt Rules. All pleadings to make executory spousal support or child support judgments or in which a judgment of contempt is sought for failure to pay spousal support or child support shall be accompanied by a sworn affidavit, executed by the party filing the pleadings, which shall he served upon the opposing party, setting forth the following:
- A computation of the arrearage that has accrued under the judgment, and
- An itemized list of all credits to which the defendant in rule is entitled during the period of the arrearage.
D. Notice By Clerk. A copy of this court rule shall be provided the clerk by the attorney for mover and said copy served with the rule or petition shall be sufficient notice. Failure to comply with this rule may be a basis for dismissal or continuance of the rule or petition, or may cause the Court to disallow the introduction of evidence or argument by the party failing to comply.
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