Once the parties have completed their initial discovery and have a clear understanding of the facts of the case, the Judge will schedule a pre-trial conference. The purpose of the pre-trial conference is to limit the issues, clarify the parties’ positions, and find as much middle-ground for settlement as possible.
In preparation for the pre-trial conference, the spouses must conduct a “4-way” meeting between both spouses and their attorneys. This meeting is mandatory, unless there is a restraining order in effect, and is meant to force everyone into the same room so they will have a rational discussion about their disagreements and see if there are any issues then can agree on.
After the 4-way meeting, you must prepare and file a pre-trial memorandum with the Court in preparation for the pre-trial conference. The pre-trial memorandum is an important opportunity to explain to the Judge your view of the evidence, your positions, and your arguments for how the Judge should rule.
During the pre-trial conference, the Judge will read through both pre-trial memoranda and try to help the parties come to an agreement by explaining the most likely outcome and rulings. If you are not able to agree, the Judge will limit the issues in dispute, schedule a trial date, and issue a pre-trial order with important deadlines and requirements for the upcoming trial.