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The Divorce Encyclopedia
Pretrial Conference


Term Definition Pretrial Conference - a meeting of the parties with a judge before the trial.
Application in Divorce Often held in camera, these conferences give the parties a sense of the court’s general impressions and sense of the issues.

Sometimes, in divorce actions, differences can be ironed out in pretrial conferences. In divorce actions, sometimes a pretrial conference, though held close to an anticipated trial date, can lead to settlements that eliminate the trial.

Judges call and conduct pretrial conferences as they see fit. The spouse and their lawyers meet with the judge and review the how and what evidence should be presented, particularly what kind of a trial brief each lawyer will submit in advance. Generally in a trial, disputed issues include child custody and visitation, property and support; but sometimes the parties agree on one issue but not the others.

A judge’s questions during a pretrial conference often give the parties, particularly their lawyers, a sense of the judge’s view of the case. This can be an incentive to settle.

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