Our family lawyers often get contacted by potential clients asking about what a family law case conference is. We acknowledge that family law can be very confusing. There are also several self-represented individuals who do research online to understand the steps of family law. To clarify things we put together this blog.
The purpose of a Family Law Case Conference is to:
- Agree on the key legal issues to be resolved
- Make a list of what issues are not in dispute
- Work on the plan to resolve those issues
- The disclosure needed by both parties
The case conference is often around a one-hour meeting between your lawyer, the other parties’ lawyer, and a judge. Some people attend the case conference without lawyers. The meeting is informal as it is not the trial. You will often get a new judge if the issue goes to a hearing. The judge acts as a mediator during this stage of the family law matter.
Sometimes the case conference is held is a private meeting and sometimes in open court. It depends on which court you attend.
It often takes 2-6 months to schedule a case conference depending on where the parents and/or children live. Individuals need to attend the case conference; they should not simply send their lawyers.
The judge won’t make a large order at this stage. A large order can include spousal support or division of assets.
Read more: Separation Agreement, What Is It?
The judge is also going to look at the possibility of setting the case without going to trial. Good lawyers should be working towards the goal of a settlement as well. If there is the possibility of a settlement, it is likely that a date will be set for a settlement conference. Multiple conferences can be held with the goal of movies the parties closer to an agreement.
During the case conference, a judge might make some procedural orders. This often is about forcing the parties to to disclose to each other.
The disclosure will often include putting together a list of:
- All your assets (property, vehicles, air miles, bank accounts, mutual funds…etc.)
- Your debts
- How much income both spouses make (income tax returns)
- How many expenses were spent on the child (to determine child support)
- Employment insurance if applicable
Often both parties are given thirty days from the case conference to provide the disclosure.
If you have questions about the Family Law Case Conference, contact us! Our family law firm offers self-represented coaching if you do not want to have a lawyer represent you.
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