From FRIDAY, DECEMBER 19, 2014

WHAT IS A CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE

 

A Case Management Conference is a meeting scheduled by the Judge to review the status of your case. The substance and procedure of a Case Management Conference varies from Judge to Judge. Some Judges require the client to attend the Case Management Conference, while other Judges do not mandate the attendance of the client, nor do they necessarily mandate the attendance of the Attorney for the client (if that client's Attorney has arranged for another Attorney to cover the matter for them.) 

Pursuant to Family Law Rules of Procedure 12.200(a), the purpose of the Case Management Conference is to schedule or reschedule service of motions, pleadings and other papers; set or reset the time of trials; coordinate the progress of the action if complex litigation factors are present; limit, schedule, order and expedite Discovery; schedule disclosure of Expert Witnesses, and discovery of facts known and opinions held by such Experts; schedule and hear motions related to the admission or exclusion of evidence; pursue the possibility of settlement; require filing preliminary stipulations; refer issues to the General Magistrate for findings of fact, if consent is obtained; review if there is a history of Domestic Violence, and if not a prohibiting issue of Domestic Violence, refer the Parties to mediation; coordinate voluntary binding arbitration; appoint Court Experts and allocate expenses for appointments; refer the cause for a Parenting Plan recommendation, social investigation and study, home study and psychological evaluation and to allocate the initial expense for the studies and evaluations; appoint an Attorney or Guardian Ad Litem for a minor child(ren) if required and allocate the expense of that appointment; and schedule other conferences or determine other matters that can aid in the disposition of your divorce. 

A properly run Case Management Conference by the Judge saves time and money for the case and allows for better communication between the Attorneys. This creates a more efficient / amicable result in your case. A poorly run Case Management Conference by the Judge only reviews whether or not the case is ready to be put on a trial docket or if there should be another Case Management Conference, and therefore they are only proceeding with the Case Management Conference because it is mandated by the Family Law Rules of Procedure.  It is my opinion that this type of Case Management Conference is a waste of time and resources. A proper Case Management Conference is one that the client attends and the Judge thoroughly reviews the case file, pending motions, mandatory disclosure dates and assists the Parties in scheduling mediation. This keeps the case moving along and avoids an Attorney (without ethics) from stalling the case if it is to their client's advantage (for example:  delaying the ability to set a temporary hearing wherein your spouse would have to pay you temporary Alimony, child support/Attorney Fees and Costs.)  

In "English," ask your Attorney about the Case Management Conference and how the Judge assigned to your case runs his or her Case Management Conference. Discuss with your Attorney whether or not your attendance at the Case Management Conference is mandatory or advisable, and ask your Attorney to explain to you why it is in your interest to properly prepare for the Case Management Conference and how this will help your case. Ask your Attorney how you can assist in the preparation for the Case Management Conference, and as always, tell your Attorney what you want and confirm what you want via email. I hope the Judge assigned to your case properly runs his or her Case Management Conference.