The Vermont Statutes Online
Subchapter 002 : OFFICE OF MAGISTRATE(Cite as: 4 V.S.A. § 466)
§ 466. Procedure
(a) A proceeding before a magistrate shall, in cases involving child support, be initiated by the filing of a petition. If a proceeding for divorce, annulment, or separation has been commenced before the Family Division of the Superior Court, the magistrate shall have jurisdiction to determine a temporary amount of child support on the basis of the complaint or petition filed in the Family Division of the Superior Court.
(b) A magistrate hearing shall be conducted according to rules adopted by the Supreme Court, subject to review by the Judicial Rules Committee. The rules shall include postjudgment procedures and deadlines for the establishment of support orders which comply with the requirements of federal law.
(c) The Vermont Rules of Evidence shall apply to magistrate proceedings, except that evidence not admissible under those Rules may be admitted if it is of a type commonly relied upon by reasonably prudent persons in the conduct of their affairs and is not precluded by statute or privilege.
(d) Witnesses shall be sworn. Hearings shall be electronically recorded. The magistrate shall assist the parties in developing relevant and reliable evidence.
(e) The Family Division of the Superior Court clerk shall provide for personal service or shall mail to the respondent, at one or more of the addresses supplied by the respondent, by certified mail, return receipt requested and delivery restricted to the addressee, the expense being paid by the petitioner, a notice signed by the clerk. If acceptance of service is refused, the clerk may serve the notice on the respondent by sending it to the respondent by ordinary first class mail and by certifying that such service has been made. In the alternative, the clerk may provide for mail service as provided in Rule 4(l) of the Vermont Rules of Civil Procedure.
(f) When an obligor is referred to an employment services program, the magistrate may require the program to file periodic written reports with the court regarding the obligor's progress and cooperation with the program requirements. Such reports shall be admissible in an enforcement or contempt proceeding without the appearance of a witness from the program unless there is a dispute with respect to the authenticity of the report or the obligor disputes the facts set forth in the report concerning the obligor's performance and the facts in dispute are relevant to the determination of the issues before the court. (Added 1989, No. 221 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. Oct. 1, 1990; amended 2009, No. 154, § 238; 2011, No. 119 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)