What Is A Case Management Conference?
During many divorce proceedings, the court will schedule what is known as a case management conference. These meetings, which involve the attendance of both parties, their attorneys, and the judge, are basically designed to ensure that a couple’s divorce proceedings are moving forward as they should. Read on to learn more about the issues that are addressed at case management conferences in Florida.
What Happens During a Case Management Conference?
Case management conferences usually occur between 60 and 90 days after a couple files for divorce, although they can technically be held any time after the filing if requested by either party’s attorney. During these conferences, a judge will check in on how a divorce is progressing, keeping litigation on track, and making sure that the parties are complying with the rules of discovery. At this time, courts also have the discretion to:
- Schedule or reschedule the service of motions and pleadings;
- Hear motions;
- Coordinate the progress of action;
- Set the time of trial;
- Schedule, limit, or expedite the discovery process;
- Schedule disclosure of expert witnesses;
- Discuss the possibility of settlement proceedings;
- Require the filing of preliminary stipulations; and
- Schedule other conferences that will aid in the disposition of the case.
Once the conference is completed, a judge will issue a decision about the case, determining whether to:
- Schedule a new conference;
- Move forward with mediation; or
- Set a date for the trial.
Case management conferences can be beneficial for all of the parties involved, giving both spouses a chance to streamline divorce-related issues and potentially reach a settlement agreement.
Failing to Comply with Procedural Requirements
If a judge finds that one of the parties is not in compliance with Florida’s procedural divorce rules, then he or she can issue orders to either or both parties with specific directions and deadlines. Spouses who violate these orders could face fines and in some cases, even jail time. If a party fails to attend a case management conference, the court can take a number of steps, including limiting the proof presented during the proceedings, striking the pleadings, and even dismissing the court action entirely.
Preparing for a Case Management Conference
There are few steps that couples can take before attending a case management conference to help the process go more smoothly, including:
- Meeting with their attorneys before the hearing to discuss any specific issues they want to raise;
- Complete all mandatory financial discovery;
- Complete and file the financial affidavit; and
- Completing the parenting course (if a couple shares children).
While these meetings are non-adversarial, they are still important to the outcome of a case, so divorcing couples are encouraged to take these proceedings seriously and to prepare for them accordingly.
Call for Help with Your Florida Divorce
Case management conferences can help families navigate the legal system more easily during divorce. To speak with an experienced Florida divorce lawyer about the kinds of proceedings you’ll need to attend during divorce, please call Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. at 954-945-7591 or send us an online message today.