What Is a Scheduling Conference in Family Court

What Is a Scheduling Conference in Family Court?

In family court, a scheduling conference is a meeting that takes place between the parties involved in a family law case, including their attorneys, and the judge. The purpose of this conference is to establish a timeline for the case and set dates for important events, such as hearings, discovery deadlines, and the trial itself. It allows the court to ensure that the case progresses in an orderly and efficient manner.

During a scheduling conference, the judge may also address any preliminary issues, such as temporary orders for child custody or support, or any urgent matters that require immediate attention. It is important to note that a scheduling conference is not a trial or an opportunity to present evidence or arguments. Its main focus is to establish a framework for the case and keep it on track.

The scheduling conference is typically scheduled after the initial pleadings have been filed and both parties have had the opportunity to exchange information through the discovery process. This ensures that all relevant information is available to the court before making decisions regarding the case’s timeline.


Q: Who attends a scheduling conference?
A: The parties involved in the case, along with their attorneys, are required to attend the scheduling conference. In some cases, the judge may allow parties to appear by telephone or video conference if they are unable to physically attend the court.

Q: What should I bring to a scheduling conference?
A: It is advisable to bring any relevant documents or information that may be useful during the conference. This may include copies of pleadings, financial statements, and any other documents requested by the court or opposing party.

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Q: Can I bring witnesses or present evidence at a scheduling conference?
A: No, a scheduling conference is not the appropriate forum for presenting evidence or calling witnesses. Its purpose is to establish a timeline and address procedural matters. If you wish to present evidence or call witnesses, it will typically be done during a separate hearing or trial.

Q: What happens if one party fails to attend a scheduling conference?
A: If a party or their attorney fails to appear at a scheduling conference without a valid reason, the court may proceed without them and set the case’s timeline based on the available information. This may put the absent party at a disadvantage, as they will not have the opportunity to provide input or contest the proposed schedule.

Q: Can the schedule established during a scheduling conference be changed?
A: Yes, it is possible for the schedule to be modified if there are valid reasons for doing so. Either party may file a motion to modify the schedule, and the court will consider the request based on the circumstances presented.

Q: Can the judge make decisions regarding the case during a scheduling conference?
A: While the judge may address urgent matters or temporary orders during a scheduling conference, it is not the appropriate time to make final decisions on the case. The purpose of the conference is to establish a timeline and ensure that the case progresses smoothly.

In conclusion, a scheduling conference in family court is a crucial step in the legal process of a family law case. It allows the court, the parties, and their attorneys to establish a timeline for the case and set dates for important events. By ensuring an organized and efficient progression of the case, a scheduling conference plays a vital role in the pursuit of justice and resolution in family law matters.

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