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Questions You Want Answered > What is the Court Process? > What is a settlement/pretrial conference?

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The purpose of the conference is to try to settle your case.  The Court does not want to have to hold a full trial unless there is no possibility of a settlement, and most cases settle short of a judge’s decision.  The purpose of the Conference is to make one last official attempt before trial. Usually this Conference is informal, and if both sides are represented by attorneys, the majority of the work takes place in the Family Division Master’s office.  At this Conference, the Family Division Master will attempt to narrow the issues that are in dispute, listen to both sides’ positions and provide suggestions and feedback to help us resolve your dispute.  The attorneys then discuss what was said with their clients in hopes that the additional assessment of the facts by the Master will provide the information necessary to resolve the case.  How much guidance and how much they persevere in settling the matter depends on the individual Master. 

Be prepared to spend significant time at this Conference, and to determine what you need to settle your case.  It would be a good idea to talk to your attorney, either in person or by phone prior to the Conference so that they can be as much help to each other as possible.  

Last updated on September 5, 2013 by Karen Robbins, Attorney at Law