Case Management Conference / Early Case Evaluation

After the Defendant files an Answer, the judge will set a hearing for the parties to appear in court. This hearing is called the "Early Case Evaluation" or the “Case Management Conference.” Read on for more information about the purpose of this hearing, when it will happen, and what to expect.

What is a Case Management Conference?

The Case Management Conference (also called the "Early Case Evaluation") is an initial hearing where the judge, the attorneys, and the parties meet to discuss the issues involved in the case. The whole purpose is to get your case moving forward. The judge will want to find out the following during the hearing:

  • What issues do you and the other parent agree on?
  • What issues do you and the other parent disagree on?
  • Is there a possibility of a quick settlement of the case?

The judge will decide how to best move your case forward based on the above.

The judge may have you and the other parent go to mediation if you cannot agree on custody of the children. See Family Mediation Center for more information about this. The judge may refer you to another kind of settlement program if other issues are in dispute. The judge may also set deadlines for you and the other party to complete discovery, and may set a trial date.


When Will The Hearing Happen?

The judge will set a court date within 90 days of when the Defendant filed his or her answer. You will receive a notice in the mail from the court with the hearing date included.


How Do I Prepare For the Case Management Conference?

It is a good idea to review some tips on how to Represent Yourself in Court before you go to the hearing.

You may also want to watch some videos that the family court judges prepared to help you understand the court process. You can view helpful videos from the judges by clicking here.

You must have your Financial Disclosure Form filed before the Case Management Conference. This helps the judge figure out child support (even if only temporarily) and any other financial issues. If you have not already filed your Financial Disclosure Form, download the following document and be sure to file it before the hearing.  Remember to attach your three most recent paystubs to the form.

Financial Disclosure Form (pdf)  Financial Disclosure Form - General (pdf fillable)


Will The Judge Make Final Decisions at the Case Management Conference?

Probably not. The judge can only make final orders at this hearing if you and the other parent are in full agreement on all the issues. Otherwise, you will not receive final orders at this hearing. Remember, this is only the first hearing where the judge can find out the issues involved and get your case moving forward. This is not a final hearing where everything will be decided.