Case Management Conference Attendance
We are often asked, should I attend this case management conference. First, for any court hearing attendance question, read the summons, notice of hearing, or court order that made you aware of the hearing and be sure it doesn’t demand your appearance. If it does, then that is your answer. Usually though, a case management conference doesn’t require a parties’ attendance, but that may not always be the case. Be sure to read the document that you received making you aware of the hearing very closely to ensure it does not specifically require your attendance.
What is a case management conference generally?
The principal goal of a case-management conference is to determine the future course of the litigation. Typically, the attorneys report the Judge what progress has been made and anything that is delaying progress (progress in this sense meaning moving towards resolving the conflict at issue). Deadlines and future hearings are set. Basically, the Judge is asking the Parties, how do you think we should best move this case forward and why, then the Judge makes determinations via deadlines, hearing dates, and orders about how to move the case forward to either trial or agreement.
What specifically will be addressed in a family law related case management conference?
Among other scheduling issues, the Court wants to know if everyone has completed their parenting class and filed their certificate. I like my clients to have this done before the first case management conference. Has mediation been completed? Again, I don’t think the Court should have to order Parties to mediation. Why not get that done and move things along because it is required so long as there is not an impediment to mediation (like an order of protection or other domestic violence/safety related concerns).
Will the court make findings of fact (determine evidentiary issues) at a case management conference?
Unless the case management conference is set with something else like a temporary matter, no, the Court will not hear evidence and will not make determinations of fact. This hearing is more procedural (scheduling related in a sense) than substantive (what are the facts and how will the court rule on big issues).
Is it helpful to my attorney that I attend the case management conference?
So long as the Court has not required my client to attend a case management conferences, I generally do not ask my clients to attend, though I welcome their attendance. I understand that clients must balance time off for court with work and other obligations. You need to save your PTO for other more substantive hearings if that is a concern. I need clients to attend pre-trial hearings, settlement conferences, and any hearing requiring testimony. If you can attend, I prefer my clients to attend, as you will better understand the process and keep better apprised of the events in your case if you are there and see it firsthand. It may also help ease nerves at future hearings where testimony may be required.
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