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5 Facts About a New Jersey Divorce Case Management Conference

If you are going through a divorce in New Jersey, you may have to attend a case management conference. This is a meeting between you, your spouse, and a judge or court officer. If you are like most people in the Garden States, you likely are not aware of what occurs during a case management conference that may be held during your own divorce case. This blog has been prepared to provide you with a clearer idea of what is involved in this type of session. Here are five important facts you should know about New Jersey divorce case management conferences:

  • Purpose of conference
  • Attendance is required
  • Prepare for the conference
  • Settlement if possible
  • Next steps
Purpose of Conference

The primary purpose of a New Jersey divorce case management conference is to organize and manage the divorce case. During the conference, the judge or court officer will discuss the issues in the case, including child custody, child support, alimony, and property division. The goal is to identify areas of agreement and disagreement between the parties.

In addition to discussing the issues, the judge or court officer will also set a timeline for the case. This timeline will include deadlines for exchanging information, completing discovery, and attending mediation sessions. The timeline is designed to keep the case moving forward and ensure that it is resolved in a timely manner.

Attendance is Required

Both you and your spouse must attend a scheduled New Jersey case management conference. If you fail to appear, the court may dismiss your case or make orders without your input. It is important to make every effort to attend the conference, even if you believe that a settlement is unlikely.

If you cannot attend the conference for a valid reason, such as illness or a family emergency, you should notify the court as soon as possible. The court may allow you to reschedule the conference, but this is not guaranteed. Before a New Jersey divorce case management conference, you should prepare a case information statement, which is a document that lists your income, expenses, assets, and debts. You should also be prepared to discuss any issues that are important to you, such as child custody or property division.

In addition to the case information statement, you may need to file other documents with the court before the conference. These documents may include a complaint for divorce, a motion for temporary support, or a request for a restraining order. Your attorney can help you determine which documents are necessary in your case.

Settlement is Possible

During the course of a case management conference, the judge or court officer may try to help the parties reach a settlement. If an agreement is reached, it will be put in writing and become part of the divorce decree.

Settlement is often preferable to going to trial, as it allows the parties to retain more control over the outcome of the case. However, settlement is not always possible, especially if the parties have significant disagreements about the issues in the case.

Next Steps

If no settlement between the parties is achieved at the case management conference, the case then proceeds to the discovery phase of the marriage dissolution proceedings. Discovery is when both parties exchange information and documents related to the case, usually following a court order. The court will set dates for property to be appraised and appoint experts to do the same. If parenting time or custody is at issue, the court will order the parties to attend Custody and Parenting Time Mediation at the courthouse. Also, the court may set a date for the parties to participate in an Early Settlement Panel (ESP) or set a date for a follow-up case management conference if the court believes there needs to be a follow up case management conference for a complex discovery case. If the case does not settle at the ESP, the court will order the parties to participate in mandatory economic mediation. Mediation is a process where the parties meet with a neutral third party to try to resolve their differences. If the case does not settle at economic mediation, then the court will schedule an intensive settlement conference which is an all-day conference at the courthouse.

In conclusion, a New Jersey divorce case management conference is a necessary and important component of a marriage dissolution case. It is important to attend and actively participate to ensure that your interests and positions are set forth. If you have questions about the case management conference or any other aspect of your divorce case, it is best to consult with an experienced family law attorney. Your attorney can help you understand your rights and obligations, and work to achieve the best possible outcome for you. Call (201) 845-7400 for a free divorce consultation.

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