Each of Vermont's 14 counties has a Family Division. The
division is responsible for all family related legal matters. Types of cases
heard in Family Division include:
- Marriage related - divorce, annulment, desertion and separation
- Child Support
- Orders of Protection for Victims of Domestic Abuse
- Juvenile - children who are delinquent,
unmanageable, abused or neglected
- Commitments to the Vermont State Hospital
Many cases involve requests to modify previous court orders. For example, a
parent who was given custody of children in a divorce may ask the court to
increase the child support payments made by the non-custodial parent.
Many people represent themselves in the Family Division. To help litigants
through the court process, Family Division staff conduct training sessions on a
regular basis and have developed extensive educational materials. Case managers
coordinate court services and may refer litigants to social service agencies
All Family Division matters except for child support are primarily decided by
the Presiding Family Division Judge. Child support orders are the responsibility
of Family Court magistrates. There are no jury trials in Family Court.
Criminal Division judges, Civil Division judges, Family Division magistrates
and assistant judges sit in the Family Division Court. Trial Court law clerks
perform the legal research necessary to help judges reach well-informed
decisions. Family Division Managers and their staff are responsible for the
daily operations of the Court.