Case Management Conference
After the Defendant files an Answer, the judge will set a hearing for the parties to appear in court. This hearing is called 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 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 what issues you agree on and what you are not in agreement about. The judge will decide how to best move your case forward.
The judge may have you and your spouse 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?
You must file your Financial Disclosure Form before the Case Management Conference. This helps the judge know what financial issues are involved in your divorce. If you have not already filed your Financial Disclosure Form, download the following document and be sure to file it before the hearing.
You and the other party are also expected to meet and discuss the issues within 45 days of the date the answer was filed. The goal of this meeting is to reach any agreements, exchange documents that are needed, identify witnesses you might want to use, and talk about what you will each need to do to get ready for trial. After the meeting, you'll need to file a Case Conference Report. You should both sign it if possible, but if not, you can fill it out and sign it yourself.
Will I be divorced after the Case Management Conference?
Probably not. The judge can only grant a divorce at this hearing if you and your spouse are in full agreement on all the issues involved in your divorce. Otherwise, you will not receive your divorce 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.