Randall Kessler On the Fulton County Family Court

Fulton County Family Court FAQs     

What is the Fulton County Family Division?
The Fulton County Family Division (FCFD) was instituted in 1998 to reform the way domestic relations cases are handled and litigated. The main concept of the FCFD is the "One Family/One Judge” concept. The main goal of the FCFD is to ensure that all of your domestic matters are handled quickly, amicably and under the guidance of the same Judge and/or Judicial Officer.

What determines if my case will be handled through the Fulton County Family Division?
The FCFD solely handles domestic relations cases filed in Fulton County. While other counties in Georgia have similar processes to resolve your family law disputes, only Fulton County has a separate division designed specifically towards such cases. While not all domestic relations matters are handled exclusively through the FCFD (for instance, some child support collection and family violence matters are not), the majority of such matters are handled through the FCFD.

How does the Fulton County Family Division ensure a quick resolution to my case?
The FCFD uses both formal litigation and alternative dispute resolution methods to help the parties come to an agreement regarding the matters of a case. The Court mandates that all parties prepare and exchange discovery before the Thirty Day Status Conference and allows for judicial guidance as to how the parties should proceed.

What is a Status Conference?
The FCFD schedules three status conferences in which the parties, attorneys and a Judge/Judicial Officer meet and discuss the status of the case and possible resolutions. The first conference, the “30 Day Status Conference,” meets roughly 30 days after the filing of the case. This conference enables parties to exchange discovery and possibly reach an agreement regarding the temporary issues of the case. If a temporary agreement cannot be reached, the court may schedule a temporary hearing. The second conference, the “60 Day Status Conference,” meets roughly 60 days after the filing of the case. The 60 Day Status Conference enables the parties to meet again to discuss any potential discovery disputes, resolve any temporary issues, and possibly schedule a mediation session. The third and final conference is the “120 Day Status Conference,” which meets roughly 120 days after the filing of the case. The 120 Day Status Conference usually consists of the parties describing to the Judge what issues have been resolved and what discovery has taken place. If the parties cannot reach a final resolution of the case, the Judge will issue an Order which will dictate to the parties when their final trial will be.

Will my case take longer because of these Status Conferences?
No, you can resolve the matters of your case at any time. There is no requirement that the parties attend a Status Conference if they can resolve all issues of their case before the meeting of a Status Conference.

Kessler blog posting - Fulton County Family Division finally here to stay.

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