Representation In Court
The Court Process
In a typical family law case, the steps in a court case are as follows:
1. Pleadings Stage
Initial court documents are served on the other party and filed at the Court (Application, Answer, Financial Statements)
2. First Appearance
In front of a court clerk, ensuring that all pleadings are filed and that the parties are ready for a case conference; case conference date is then set
3. Case Conference
Usually first step in front of Judge; parties to serve/file briefs – discuss case with Judge and what steps (disclosure) are necessary to get the file ready for a settlement conference and resolution; Judge will provide input to the parties on their case if appropriate;
Judge makes decisions on temporary issues such as custody/access, child support, spousal support, sale of property, financial disclosure, etc.
5. Settlement Conference
In front of a Judge and parties to serve/file briefs; Judge acts as a mediator and helps the parties try to settle or narrow their issues and avoid a trial on those issues; Judge will provide input to the parties on the case.
6. Trial Scheduling/Trial Management Conference
In front of a Judge;
Parties present their evidence (oral testimony and documentary evidence) and Judge makes final decision based on that evidence.
The vast majority of cases settle before the trial stage is reached. Trials and motions are unpredictable and complex. The lawyers at Chapman McAlpine Law have experience litigating in Court while making a good faith effort to resolve issues on a reasonable basis as early as possible in the court process.