Family court judges hear cases involving divorce; annulment; separate maintenance; paternity; grandparent visitation; issues involving allocation of parental responsibility; and family support proceedings, except those incidental to child abuse and neglect proceedings. Family court judges also hold final hearings in domestic violence civil proceedings.
There are forty-five family court judges who serve twenty-seven family court circuits. Family court judges, who were previously appointed by the governor, were elected in partisan elections for the first time in 2002. Their initial terms are for six years. Subsequent terms are for eight years. Beginning in 2016 all judicial elections are nonpartisan elections.