What is a Pretrial Conference?
Alan R. Nye
Courts always want to be as efficient as possible with their time. To that end, most family law cases have a pretrial conference before being scheduled for trial. The pretrial conference is a meeting by the judge or magistrate with the parties and/or their attorneys. At the conference, the court goes over all the agreed upon and contested matters in the case and establishes guidelines on how the trial or hearing with be conducted.
Items discussed often include such things as the number of witnesses to be called, what documents will be introduced, whether each side has the necessary discovery (information) they seek from the other party, how long the trial is expected to take and when the case will be scheduled for hearing. These matters are then written into a pretrial order which is sent to the parties. The requirements of the pretrial order are followed by the parties to ensure that the hearing is narrowed to only the matters in dispute and that both sides are ready for trial.