Pre-Trial Conference

Pretrial Conference Lawyers Serving Boston, Massachusetts

In most family law disputes, the court assigns a date for a Pretrial Conference. This is a critical hearing that allows the court to determine which issues will be most important at trial and gives the parties an opportunity to settle some or all disputes in their family law matter.

At Massachusetts Family Law Group, our first hope is that our clients can resolve their differences and use the Pretrial Conference to complete the family law matter, but it doesn't always happen that way. We prepare each divorce, custody, support or post-divorce matter as though it were going to trial.

We represent clients from the start of a divorce proceeding as well as men and women who wish to change lawyers shortly before or after their Pretrial Conference.

Seeking Settlement During A Four-Way Meeting

When you are involved in a court cases with a Pretrial Conference, you and your attorney will be required to meet with the opposing party at least seven days before the Pretrial Conference. Called a Four-Way Meeting, the purpose is to try to settle the case. You will not be required to have a Four-Way meeting if your case involves a domestic violence restraining order or protective order.

If a comprehensive settlement during the Four-Way Meeting is not possible, you may be able to resolve some issues and continue to litigate others. For example, you may resolve parenting issues and leave disputes over property division, alimony or child support unsettled.

Presenting Your Side in the Best Light Possible

At least three days before the Pretrial Conference, both parties must submit a written memorandum to the court and the opposing party. The Pretrial Memorandum is a comprehensive legal pleading to assist the court in better understanding each party's position regarding issues that need to be resolved.

The Pretrial Conference attorney's job is to draft a memo that outlines his or her client's position on the divorce and presents the story in the best light possible. We probably draft more Pretrial Memorandums in one year than other attorneys draft over five years.

The Pretrial Conference: Settling Your Divorce or Preparing For Trial

In some cases, the four-way meeting was a success and the parties were able to resolve each of the contested issues. Should you be so lucky, you lawyer will draft a separation agreement between the Four-Way and the Pretrial Conference. The court date will be used to get you divorced, rather than argue contested issues before the judge.

Pretrial Conferences in which the clients have not reached an agreement are used by the courts to thoroughly review the case and narrow the issues for trial. By narrowing the issues, the parties can minimize the time and costs of trial. We prepare for each Pretrial Conference as though a case will head to trial, even when we believe the dispute will be settled.

Clients Often Change Attorneys Just Prior to Their Pretrial Conference

Men and women often come to our firm just before or after their Pretrial Conference to ask what will happen if they change lawyers. In many cases, a fresh perspective or new set of arguments often gets cases resolved more quickly. There is no reason you should be concerned about changing your attorney. Close to one in six of our new cases come from other attorneys who have not made their client happy.

If you are not feeling comfortable with your attorney, consider Massachusetts Family Law Group. We have represented cases in each of the different Probate and Family Courts in Massachusetts, and we offer clients over more than 100 years of courtroom experience in nearly every type of family law dispute.

Call 800-763-1030 or e-mail us to schedule your free no-obligation consultation.