Status conferences are periodically scheduled with the court as a way for the parties to “check-in” with the judge to see how the case is developing. Before you attend one, you may be nervous. Nobody ever wants to go to court and everything from the building, the courtroom, the judge and staff can seem very intimidating. However, once you become familiar with the process and prepare for what to expect, we believe this will take a lot of the anxiety out of the situation.
1. Arrive Early: give yourself ample time to find parking, go through courthouse security, find your courtroom, and sit down before your case is called. For the first status, you may want to give yourself at least 30 minutes from the time you arrive at the courthouse to find your courtroom and then watch other cases called before yours and get a preview of how the judge conducts the status conferences before yours. You can also go to court a day before and watch the judge conduct status conferences on that day to get a preview of how it’s done. Whatever you do, avoid arriving late and appearing scattered as this will not reflect well with the judge.
2. Be Prepared: know what you want to bring to the judge’s attention and be ready to address what the other party brings to the judge’s attention about you. Bring your case notebook with you so that you can quickly refer to documents. Make sure your case notebook is organized and you can easily find documents. Within your notebook, have blank paper and a pen so that you can write down what the judge said. Also, don’t be afraid to ask the judge to repeat themselves or confirm what you believe he or she told you.
3. Common Questions from the Judge: the judge may start the status by asking one of the parties to tell them what’s going on in the case or the status of the case. If one party has an attorney, usually the judge will ask the attorney to brief the judge and then ask the self-represented party if what the attorney said is accurate. The judge will want to know procedurally where the case is. So for example, the judge will ask if the parties have completed mediation orientation, if they have completed their parenting class requirement, or if the parties have contacted their mediation to schedule sessions. The judge also wants to know what’s going on with the parties and the children. So for example, the judge will ask where are the children living, what is parenting time between the parties, and whether there are any major or urgent issues that require a hearing. As the case progresses, the judge will want to know whether the parties are close to settling the case and what issues remain outstanding. The judge may ask about if discovery has been completed by the parties, whether mediation has been completed and if a parenting time plan has been agreed upon, and if a trial date needs to be set.
Know What Should Happen After
Depending on where the case is, the judge can either schedule another status conference usually around 45 days later (although sometimes much longer) or can schedule a trial to resolve all outstanding issues. The trial is usually scheduled once the parties have exhausted their mediation hours, discovery has been completed, and there isn't any progress in the case to resolve the outstanding issues with more time. You need to manage your case appropriately from the beginning. The judge isn't going to be happy that you waited so long to conduct discovery or otherwise could have worked on settling the case. It's important to know how to manage your resources during your case and work towards a beneficial outcome.
Should You Talk With an Attorney First?
Navigating through the family law process can be complicated and have negative consequences if not done correctly. Doing the process correctly is crucial to achieving your desired results without wasting time and money. It’s important you talk with an attorney to help guide you through the process, advise you of your options, and explain the advantages and disadvantages of your actions you take in divorce, custody, or family law case in Oregon. Contact us at Navigate Legal Services today by calling (503) 300-1990.
Discuss your case with an Oregon attorney today. We serve clients all throughout Oregon. Contact us at Navigate Legal Services today by calling (503) 300-1990.