In a contested divorce case, your first court appearance is likely to be the Scheduling Conference. This is conducted in the courtroom before a Family Law Master.

The purpose is to set various dates in your trial such as Discovery Cutoff and the Pre-Trial Hearing. And in fact, if you try to argue some point in your case, the Master will usually say “I am just setting dates”.

However, there is more than that to the Scheduling Conference. This is the time you have to ask for certain things in your case:

Pendente Lite Relief (Temporary Support, Attorneys Fees, Access, Use and Possession)
Attorney for the Children
Custody Evaluation or Assessment
Alternative Dispute Resolution

We will discuss these in more detail in future articles. But if you do not ask for them at the Scheduling Conference you may not get them later. At the end of the Scheduling Conference, the Maser’s clerk will hand you your Scheduling Order and related docments. Be sure to read them carefully before you leave the courtroom. If something you asked for is missing, now is the time to ask the Master to add it to the Order.