publication(6) - page 11

January 2012 CBA REPORT
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11
feature article
involvement of the judge is no longer
necessary, the case can be sent to the
magistrate for additional hearings.
Pre-decree cases with children are
now heard by the judges approximately
45 days after filing for a case man-
agement conference. The parties are
required to attend and the judge speaks
with them to address the issues that need
to be resolved. The attendance of the par-
ties is essential; they need to know that
there is someone who will decide the case
if no settlement can be reached.
If the cases can be resolved in an
expeditious way, the judge can do what is
needed. If there are complex issues, dis-
covery issues, custody issues or any other
issue which needs judicial involvement,
the judge is there to do what is needed.
If there are issues which do not need the
judge, the case can be referred to the
magistrate assigned. If counsel believe
that a case needs the judge’s involvement,
a motion can be filed requesting that the
case be heard by the judge assigned to the
case.
The process began with September
filings in the Hamilton County Domes-
tic Relations Court and the initial case
management conferences are just begin-
ning. The committee continues to meet
to refine and do what is necessary so that
EJIP will be successful and a model for
other courts.
Bloch practices domestic relations law with the firm of
Wagner and Bloch LLC. She is a certified specialist in
family relations law.
W
By Randal S. Bloch
W
hat is the Early Judicial
Intervention Program and
where did it come from? That
is the question being asked by the many
attorneys practicing in the Hamilton
County Domestic Relations Court. After
the Domestic Relations Bench-Bar Con-
ference, a committee was formed with
attorneys and court personnel, including
Judges Susan Laker Tolbert, Elizabeth
Mattingly and Jon Sieve, and the Court
Administrator, Lisa Gorrasi, to formulate
a system to expedite the process of pre-
decree cases through the court system.
The committee looked at models
throughout the country. The process in
Minneapolis provided a beginning point
for Hamilton County. After months of
discussion, Judge Susan Tolbert began
the project with a select number of cases
to see if the early involvement of a judi-
cial officer in the divorce process would
make a difference in the length of time a
case remained on the court’s docket. The
process of hearings before a magistrate —
with objections to the judge — on a series
of issues in a case clearly can extend the
duration of a highly contested matter. If
a judge can successfully intervene in the
matter “in the beginning,” the case can
be managed by the judge and concluded
in a more timely and complete way. It is
a more holistic approach to litigation and
allows the court to know the parties, at-
torneys and the issues in the case.
The early intervention of the court
was found to be effective. The early
“hands on” approach of the judge makes
a difference. The judge can intervene,
monitor, and control the case. When the
Early Judicial Intervention
in Place at Domestic Court
Learn More About EJIP
Hamilton County Domestic Relation Court’s Early Judicial
Intervention Project —
What Practitioners Need to Know
• Program:
Jan. 25, Noon to 1 p.m.
• Cincinnati Bar Center
• 1.0 Hour CLE Credit
• Presenters:
Judge Susan Tolbert and Randal S. Bloch
• Cost:
CBA DR Committee Members-$10,
CBA Members-$35,
Non-Members-$50
To register, visit
use the form on page 22 or call the
CLE Department at (513) 699-1401.
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