The new year will bring new procedures for divorce litigation in Westchester County. Details have yet to be finalized, but indications are that changes in the Matrimonial Part will be implemented with the intention of providing greater consistency and efficiency for litigated divorce cases in Westchester.
Individual Assignment Part to Replace Matrimonial Trial Assignment Part
The current Matrimonial Trial Assignment Part (MTAP) procedures for divorce cases in Westchester County Supreme Court is expected to be replaced by a new Individual Assignment Part or IAS. Four judges will be handling the majority of divorce cases. The Hon. Melissa A. Loehr and the Hon. Robert S. Ondrovic, both currently serving in the Matrimonial Part, will continue to adjudicate divorce proceedings, along with the Hon. Hal Greenwald and newly-elected Supreme Court Justice, Hon. Thomas Quinones.
Hon. Lewis J. Lubell, who has served as the Supervising Judge of the Matrimonial Part, has decided to undertake a new role as Presiding Justice in the Civil Case Trial Assignment Part. Judge Lubell will be missed as most of the matrimonial bar will likely agree that he has done an outstanding job as the supervising judge of the part. The Hon. Victor G. Grossman will be taking over the role of Supervising Judge of the Matrimonial Part. Judge Grossman is a well respected jurist with many years of experience in Domestic Relations and Family Law matters, both as an attorney in private practice and as a Supreme Court Justice.
Cases to Be Handled by a Single Judge
In recent years, a judge often handled matters from the start of a divorce case only up through the conclusion of the discovery phase. Then the case would go to a Trial Assignment Part (MTAP) and would often be assigned to a completely different judge for trial.
Under the new Individual Assignment Part or IAS procedures, a single judge will handle a case from start to finish. This is believed to make the process more efficient and improve consistency. While Court Attorney Referees (CAR) will continue their involvement in divorce cases, most likely during the discovery process, the exact role they are expected to play is not now entirely clear.
Talk to an Experienced Westchester Divorce Lawyer About How Procedural Changes Could Affect Your Case
Although the procedural changes for divorce cases in Westchester County are expected to lead to greater efficiency, the transition period could prove challenging. Moreover, the anticipated efficiency could be adversely impacted by future transfers of justices in and out of the IAS Matrimonial Part. If you have concerns about a divorce case in Westchester County, we invite you to contact the experienced team at Nolletti Law Group, PLLC to discuss the particular matter and see if we may be able to assist.