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Informal Domestic Relations Trials

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.