The Family Court divisions of the Twenty-Second Judicial District Court include Division “K” – Judge Oppenheim and Division “L” – Judge Amacker. These court divisions have jurisdiction over certain family court matters including divorce, child custody, child support, paternity, partition of property in connection with a matrimonial regime, protective order hearings and all types of adoption proceedings.
The Twenty-Second Judicial District Family Court uses hearing officers to provide expedited processing of all family court issues. Whenever a family court matter is filed, it is assigned to a hearing officer. The following frequently asked questions and answers provide you with the information needed to prepare for the hearing officer conference and, if necessary, a subsequent appearance before a family court judge.
Download Forms online or paper copies of the forms are located as follows:
In St. Tammany Parish on the 3rd floor in the hearing officers waiting area in the kiosk on the wall and in Washington Parish in the clerk’s office on the table adjacent to civil filings and at the self help resource center across the street from the courthouse in the drug screening office.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do the Family Court divisions assign hearing dates?
For every family court matter brought before the court through pleadings filed in the Clerk of Court’s office, the clerk’s deputies will assign a hearing officer conference date for that matter as well as a date to appear before the judge if such an appearance becomes necessary. In addition to assigning hearing dates, the clerk’s deputies also send the parties and/or their attorneys an order which requires that documents and supporting evidence should be brought to the hearing officer conference. This order also includes the requirement that the Family Court Affidavit be completed, circulated to the opposing party and brought to the hearing officer conference.
By what authority does the Family Court make use of hearing officers?
La. R.S. 46:236.5(C) provides that a court may appoint hearing officers to hear any family court related matter. This statute allows the hearing officers to act as finders of fact and make recommendations to the court.
Who will be my hearing officer?
A hearing officer is randomly assigned to any particular family court matter. Each hearing officer is an attorney in good standing with this state’s bar association. All hearing officers have at least 5 years of family court experience.
Where do I go for the Hearing Officer Conference?
St. Tammany Parish
Please check in on the 3rd floor in Room 3066. You can then be seated in the waiting room (Room 3240) or in the hallway on the benches outside Room 3240.
Please consult the sign in the lobby which will direct you to where the hearing officer conferences are being held that day.
Who attends the Hearing Officer Conference?
All parties and their attorneys, if any, attend this conference in person. Children and witnesses are not permitted to attend a Hearing Officer Conference.
What should be brought to the Hearing Officer Conference?
All documents and supporting evidence together with the Family Court Affidavit should be brought to a Hearing Officer Conference. Remember that the court’s rules concerning an appearance in court (dress, conduct, electronic devices) apply to an appearance at a Hearing Officer Conference.
How long does the Hearing Officer Conference last?
A Hearing Officer Conference will last approximately 1 to 2 hours. Due to unforeseen circumstances, a conference may be somewhat delayed or reconvened. Please arrange to be present at the noticed time and remain for at least 3 hours so that the conference can be completed on the date assigned.
What happens if documents, supporting evidence and/or the Family Court Affidavit are not completed/brought to the Hearing Officer Conference?
Failure to comply with the court’s order may result in a finding of contempt, sanctions and payment of the other party’s costs and attorney’s fees.
What happens at the conclusion of the Hearing Officer Conference?
The parties and/or attorneys will sign a consent judgment representing those issues agreed upon. In any case, the hearing officer will prepare a written document listing the hearing officer’s recommendations (known as the “Hearing Officer Conference Report”) to the court concerning the matters pending and discussed at the hearing officer conference.
What if a party or the parties disagree with the Hearing Officer’s recommendations?
An objection to the Hearing Officer Conference Report’s recommendations must be filed with the Clerk of Court’s office within 5 days from receipt of the Report, exclusive of legal holidays. The objection should be filed on the form provided by Family Court (found on this website or in paper form at each courthouse). If any party files an Objection, all pending issues will be heard by the judge on the court date assigned by the Clerk’s deputies. If an Objection is filed, the Hearing Officer Conference Report’s recommendations will become a temporary order of the court until the parties appear before the judge.