In May, 2013 the Deschutes County Court initiated a pilot
project with a new kind of trial for domestic relations cases called Informal
Domestic Relations Trials (IDRT). The court recognized that the rules which
govern how trials are conducted in domestic relations cases are often difficult
for self-represented litigants to follow and wanted to create a format for trials
that would be easier for people who do not have an attorney to handle on their
own. Domestic relations cases include divorce, separation, unmarried
parent, and modification cases about child custody, parenting time, and child
support. Informal Domestic Relations Trials operate under simplified
rules and limit witness testimony to experts.
The pilot project was very well received by litigants who represented themselves
at trial in domestic relations cases. And, in some instances where one or both
parties did have an attorney, the parties, in
consultation with their attorneys, also decided to use the informal domestic
relations trial process. In August of 2017 a statewide rule (UTCR 8.120) was
adopted, making this process available in all Oregon Circuit Courts.
One of the requirements of UTCR 8.120 is that all litigants in a domestic relations
case are required to choose which type of trial they want to have – either an
Informal Domestic Relations Trial or a Traditional Trial. In order to use
an IDRT, both people involved in the case must opt for the
IDRT. For more information about the differences between an Informal Domestic
Relations Trial and a Traditional Trial, please read the brochure below.