What to expect in a Trial Management Conferences

Divorces are not cheap. This is especially the case when a divorce must proceed to trial. Before time and money are spent on litigating a case, parties will have a trial management conference.

What is a Trial Management Conference?

A trial management conference is when the parties meet with a judge and the parties’ lawyers if they have one. The goal of the conference is to make sure everyone is ready for trial, but also to try one last time to settle the case. This includes discussing possibilities in resolving any outstanding issue without going to trial. If there are still issues that cannot be resolved during the trial management conference, then a trial date is set if one has not already been set. The judge involved in the trial management conference is different than the trial judge.

The overall purpose of trial management conferences is efficiency. By having these conferences, it mitigates against people showing up to the first day of trial unprepared. Court appearances are expensive and so it is best to not waste the court’s time and resources.

How do you prepare for a Trial Management Conference?

Prior to the trial management conference, each party submits a brief. The brief includes an assessment of the issues and the party’s opening statement. The brief also outlines who is planned on being called as a witness; what issues the witnesses will speak about; and how long each witness will approximately take. In terms of issues, the brief details which facts are agreed upon/not agreed upon and if all the relevant documents have been shared between parties.

The trial management conference brief becomes part of the court record and is given to the trial judge. Additionally, there are important deadlines to be met. If you are the party that started the divorce application, you must serve your partner or their lawyer a copy of the brief and have it filed in the court record at least six days before the trial management conference. If you are the party responding to the divorce application, the deadline is at least four business days before the conference.

Each party must bring an updated financial statement to give the court as well. Before attending the trial management conference, the parties must confirm their attendance with the court.

What happens at a Trial Management Conference?

Both parties explain to the judge how they plan to present the case at trial. This means all evidence must be prepared, which may be through the use of witnesses or through affidavits. A judge will inquire into how the witnesses and affidavits will be used, and how long each parties’ need for their case at trial.

The length of these conferences vary – sometimes an hour while others could take half a day. Depending on the divorce and the parties involved, a judge may ask the parties to take try to resolve their issues within the conference. This can lengthen the time of the conference.

If you are looking for more information or have additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. We will be happy to discuss your matter over a free consultation. You can reach our office at 905-366-0202 or contact us through our website here

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