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How familiar are you with the family court system? - II

In a previous post, our blog began discussing how common it is for people who hire a family law attorney to feel entirely lost, as the ensuing language, paperwork and proceedings can seem both unfamiliar and incomprehensible.

In an attempt to rectify this situation, we began providing some basic information about the Family Division of the Superior Court of Fulton County, the forum in which the majority of family law matters in our corner of Georgia are addressed. We'll continue these efforts in today's post, talking a bit about the Family Division's use of status conferences.

What exactly are status conferences and why does the Family Division use them?

Status conferences consist of all of the parties involved in a particular legal dispute over which the Family Division has jurisdiction coming together to meet with either a Judicial Officer or Superior Court Judge to address certain legal issues and even explore the possibility of reaching a settlement before trial.

The Family Division holds 30-day, 60-day and 120-day status conferences.

How exactly does all this play out in the context of contested divorce?

To illustrate what transpires regarding status conferences and contested divorce, consider the 30-day conference. Here, the Judicial Officer will do the following:

  • Ensure that both sides are honoring their discovery obligations
  • Discuss disputed issues with both sides, as well possible avenues for resolutions, including mediation
  • Inquire as to the pre-trial status of such matters as possession of the martial home, child custody and financial arrangements

Do parties to a divorce need to have certain items prepared prior to the 30-day conference?

Both sides must be certain to bring the following to the 30-day conference:

  • Answers to interrogatories (i.e., questions submitted by the other side)
  • The domestic relations financial affidavit
  • All other documents otherwise outlined on a court-provided list

It's worth noting that both sides must also be ready to engage in productive preliminary conversations about everything from child custody and child support to property division and alimony.

What happens if either side fails to do any of the following?

The 30-day conference will likely be rescheduled should any party be found lacking the necessary preparations.

Please consider meeting with an experienced legal professional if you would like to learn more about divorce or the divorce process.

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