Rule 4-904. Informal trial of support, custody and parent-time.

Intent:

To allow the parties and judge to agree to a trial of select issues in an informal manner.

Applicability:

This rule applies to the district court.

Statement of the Rule:

(a) Upon waiver and stipulated motion of all parties and approval by the court, the court will conduct an informal trial of child support, child custody and parent-time issues. The waiver and motion shall be made verbally on the record or in a signed writing. To qualify for an informal trial, the court must find that the parties have made a valid waiver of their right to a regular trial.

(b) If the court grants the motion, the informal trial shall proceed as follows:

(b)(1) The party who bears the burden of proof on an issue speaks to the court under oath about his or her desires about child support, child custody and parent-time. The party is not questioned by counsel or the other party but may be questioned by the court.

(b)(2) That party may present any document or other evidence. The court shall determine what weight to give any documents or other evidence. The court may order the record to be supplemented.

(b)(3) Counsel for that party may identify any other areas of inquiry, and the court may make the inquiry.

(b)(4) The process is repeated for the other parties.

(b)(5) If there is an expert, the expertís report is entered into evidence as the courtís exhibit. The expert may be questioned by counsel, parties or the court upon request.

(b)(6) Each party is offered:

(b)(6)(i) the opportunity to respond to the statements, documents or other evidence of the other parties; and

(b)(6)(ii) the opportunity to make legal arguments.

(b)(7) The court will enter an order which has the same force and effect as if entered after a traditional trial. If the order is a final order, it may be appealed on any grounds that do not rely upon the Utah Rules of Evidence.