What is an Informal Domestic Relations Trial (IDRT)?
In an Informal Domestic Relations Trial (IDRT), you and
the other person speak directly to the judge about the
issues that are disputed, such as child custody and
dividing property or debts. A question and answer
format is not used. Only the judge asks questions of
each person. This happens even if you or the other
person has a lawyer. Usually, other witnesses are not
allowed to testify. You can, however, ask the court to
let an expert witness testify, such as doctor, counselor,
or custody evaluator.
The Rules of Evidence do not apply in an IDRT. This
means you can tell the judge everything that you think
is important. You also can give the judge any
documents or papers you want the judge to review.
The judge will decide the importance of what you and
the other person say and the papers you each give to
the judge. In an Informal Domestic Relations Trial,
lawyers are only allowed to:
- say what the issues in the case are,
- respond when the judge asks if there are other
areas as the person wants the court to ask about, and
- make short arguments about the law at the end of
The Informal Domestic Relations Trial is a voluntary
process. In other words, you decide whether it is
something you want to do. An IDRT will be used only if
both people involved in the case agree to it. Both
people must complete a form that says what type of trial they choose.