Early Resolution Management Conference – What is the point?
If you’ve filed for a dissolution, your spouse has filed a response, and neither party is represented it will not be long before Family Court Administration schedules an Early Resolution Conference. If you want to resolve the dissolution quickly and effectively, these conferences can benefit you
What is an Early Resolution Conference?In short, an Early Resolution Conference is settlement conference provided through the court when neither side is represented. If one side retains representation prior to the Conference, Family Court Administration will vacate the Conference. The purpose of the Conference is to efficiently resolve the dissolution through mutual agreements. If all of the issues are resolved, the court will enter a decree of dissolution on that day. If some or all issues remain unresolved after the Conference, the Court will adopt the agreements as binding agreements against the parties and set a hearing before the assigned judge.
Complete the Resolution Statement before the ConferenceWithin the envelope containing the Order setting the Early Resolution Management Conference, you will receive a Resolution Statement. This Statement addresses all potential matters within a dissolution: custody orders, spousal maintenance, separate and community property, tangible personal property, debts, and other issues. In order to achieve a successful Conference, each party must fully complete the Statement so the conference officer has a complete understanding of the issues and positions. If not, the conference officer will spend more time asking questions than attempting resolution which does not benefit either party.
Exchange the Resolution Statement and any supporting documentsSo that each party is aware of the other*s position, it is beneficial to exchange Statements and supporting documents in advance of the Conference date. The benefit here is that each side is aware of the other*s positions and, potentially, the rationale behind their position. Additionally, file the Statement and bring a copy along with your supporting documents to the Conference. This is the first and only time the conference officer will meet with the parties; and in order to assist in reaching a global settlement it helps for the conference officer to review what accounts, property, etc., you are request the officer resolve.
Be open to flexibilityRemember, the purpose of this Conference is to resolve the dissolution early and short of trial. If both parties feel like they lost, but there is a full agreement, then you participated in a successful settlement conference. However, if you feel like you*re giving up too much in order to reach a settlement it is acceptable to stop the negotiations and say you*d like to revisit the proposals at a later date.