Congratulations to DP&S Santa Fe partner, Caren Friedman, who, along with trial counsel Kristina Martinez, successfully convinced the New Mexico Court of Appeals to reverse the final decree in a domestic relations case. Representing the Mother in this custody dispute, DP&S argued that the district court violated the Rules of Civil Procedure by failing to conduct a hearing on her objections to a domestic relations hearing officer’s recommendations. In a formal published Opinion, the Court of Appeals stated that “Mother’s interpretation [of the rule] is the most plausible expression of the drafter’s intent, and we adopt it here.” The Court observed that while hearing officers may assist the district court in determining factual and legal issues, “the core judicial function must always be performed by the judge.” Because the district court did not address the merits of Mother’s objections, the Court concluded that the hearing was “insufficient to satisfy the requirements” of the rule. The Court of Appeals remanded the case with instructions for the district court to conduct a hearing on the merits of Mother’s objections. You can read the opinion in Rawlings v. Rawlings here.