Educational Resources

Strategizing for the Trial Management Conference

Written by Russell Alexander / (905) 655-6335

As the journey through family law proceedings advances, the trial management conference emerges as a critical milestone, especially if a settlement hasn’t been reached.

The Essence of a Trial Management Conference

The trial management conference is not just another meeting; it’s a strategic session aimed at refining and organizing the remaining issues before the trial. It serves multiple purposes:

  • Facilitating Agreement on Disputed Issues: It offers a final chance to agree on unresolved matters, potentially narrowing the scope of the trial.
  • Assessing Readiness and Time Estimates: It’s crucial to confirm that you, your witnesses, and your legal representation (if applicable) are prepared and to ensure the estimated trial duration is accurate.
  • Organizing Trial Elements: The conference sets the stage for the trial by organizing issues, identifying witnesses, resolving procedural matters, and estimating the required time for trial proceedings.

Preparing the Trial Scheduling Endorsement Form

The preparation journey begins with the Trial Scheduling Endorsement Form, a document that plays a pivotal role in structuring the trial. Available on the Superior Court of Justice website, this form helps the judge understand the trial’s framework and address any procedural issues beforehand. Consider whether presenting evidence through a 14A affidavit is feasible, as this could streamline the trial process, albeit subject to cross-examination.

Essential Pre-Trial Documents

Before your trial management conference, ensure you have the following documents ready and filed with the court:

  • Completed Trial Scheduling Endorsement Form: This form, once endorsed by the judge, paves the way for scheduling the trial management conference.
  • Offer to Settle: A clear and fair proposal to settle the remaining disputed issues.
  • Outline of Your Opening Statement: A concise and compelling preview of your stance for the trial.

Note that a Trial Management Conference brief is not typically required unless explicitly directed by the court.

Keeping Your Financial Information Current

The effectiveness of your trial management conference hinges on up-to-date financial disclosures. Ensure that all financial documents, expert reports, and relevant financial statements are current and shared with the opposing party. The Form 13A: Certificate of Financial Disclosure must reflect any updates made post-settlement conference or prior to the trial management conference.

Detailed Property Statements

In cases involving property division:

  • Net Family Property Statement: This document, or an equivalent affidavit, should be served and filed, detailing your property status.
  • Comparison of Net Family Property Statement (Form 13C): Jointly filing this form, if possible, clarifies discrepancies in property calculations, streamlining the trial process.

Your the trial management conference marks a crucial stage in your family law case, demanding meticulous preparation and strategic foresight.

Golan Yaron, Associate Lawyer

Approach this phase with thorough preparation, clear communication, and a focus on resolution. By doing so, you set a strong foundation for a more structured and efficient trial, steering your case towards a fair and favorable outcome.

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About the author

Russell Alexander

Russell Alexander is the Founder & Senior Partner of Russell Alexander Collaborative Family Lawyers.