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Jun 13 2022

What to Expect in a Divorce Pretrial Hearing

If your divorce is heading toward court, which means you are unable to successfully resolve the applicable terms of your divorce between yourselves, you will be required to have a pretrial hearing (also called pretrial conferences). These pretrial hearings are generally scheduled about four to six months after the initial filing of your divorce pleadings. One of the most important steps you can take to help ensure that your divorce proceeds smoothly and that your rights are protected throughout the process is having an experienced Minnesota divorce attorney in your corner. 

The Pretrial Basics

While your pretrial hearing will be unique to your situation, the basics that apply to all such hearings include the following:

  • Your pretrial hearing will very likely be the last court appearance you have before your actual divorce trial.
  • Unless you are excused by the court from doing so, you are required to attend your pretrial hearing. 
  • Your pretrial hearing will very likely come after all the discovery in your case has been completed and after you have participated in mediation or another form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR). 
  • Pretrial hearings are generally held about a month prior to the scheduled trial date, but the court’s docket will dictate the exact scheduling.
  • About a week prior to your pretrial hearing, you and your divorcing spouse are both required to provide the judge with an updated Parenting and Financial Disclosure Statement that provides him or her with a current reading on where you are in relation to resolving the terms of your divorce. 

The Rationale behind Your Pretrial Hearing

The idea behind your pretrial hearing is to provide you with an opportunity to resolve any divorce terms that remain prior to abdicating your personal decision-making power to the court at trial. As such, your pretrial hearing will very likely address all the following:

  • Your attorney and your divorcing spouse’s attorney will each provide the judge with information related to the terms of divorce that remain unresolved between you. This allows the judge to get a better idea of what to expect at court in terms of which issues need to be addressed and which do not.
  • Both you and your soon-to-be ex’s divorce attorney will exchange scheduling information with the judge, including your exhibit and witness lists and estimates about how long the trial is likely to take. 
  • The judge handling your case is very likely to encourage you and your divorcing spouse to resolve the remaining terms of your divorce between yourselves and may require you to meet for one last opportunity to engage in good-faith negotiations. 

If you are able to find a middle ground at any time prior to your court date, you can avoid a divorce trial altogether. 

Consult with an Experienced Minnesota Divorce Attorney Today

The practiced Minnesota divorce attorneys at Atticus Family Law are committed to helping you favorably resolve the terms of your divorce outside the courtroom if at all possible. If court becomes a necessity, however, we’re also well prepared to take that on. Don’t wait to learn more by contacting us today.   

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