Resolution Management Conference in Arizona
You are very likely to be scheduled for a Resolution Management Conference if you are going through a divorce, legal separation, or other family law case. These conferences are normally scheduled 3 to 6 months after the initial divorce or other family law paperwork was filed. In some cases, a judge will schedule an Early Resolution Conference within 1 month of the beginning of a family case. Judges do so to get an early handle on the management of the case.
You need to understand what happens at a Resolution Management Conference to be prepared for that hearing. No two divorce or family cases are alike. Some cases in family court are simple while others may be more complex.
The judge assigned to your case will, most likely, know very little about your case prior to the Resolution Management Conference. Prior to the conference, the judge may have only seen the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and your spouse’s response to that Petition. The information in those documents, referred to as pleadings, are typically very vague.
The judge assigned to your case, therefore, doesn’t have enough information to determine how the case should be handled by the court. You, therefore, will likely be ordered to complete a resolution statement called a Resolution Management Conference Memorandum.
You will disclose information about both parties, the number of minor children, and the issues the parties agree upon and the issues the parties do not agree upon, including child custody issues, child support issues, and division of marital property. This document helps the judge prepare for the Resolution Management Conference.
The purpose of a Resolution Management Conference is to allow your judge to get more information about the issues in your case. This allows the judge to decide whether your case needs to be set for mediation when your case will be set for trial, and how much time will be allowed for you and your spouse to present evidence at the trial.
If you have reached agreements in your case, you can tell the judge what those agreements are and, if the judge accepts your agreements, they become binding upon both spouses at that hearing.
Procedure at the Resolution Management Conference
Now, not all Resolution Management Conferences are handled in exactly the same way. Some judges have their own preference in how they conduct those hearings. You will receive a notice from the court setting the date and time you need to be present for the conference. You need to read that notice carefully to determine if the court intends for the parties to testify and present other evidence at that conference.
In a large majority of these hearings, the notice will indicate evidence will not be presented at the hearing. If this is the case for you, the only thing the judge wants to know about is the nature of the disputes between the parties and how the court can help get those disputes resolved or schedule the case for trial. If there are pending motions filed by either spouse, such as a Motion for Temporary Orders, the court will likely rule on those motions at the conference.
In some cases, the court may have indicated in the notice that evidence may be presented at this conference. It is not typical for evidence to be provided at this hearing, but a judge may decide he or she needs to hear evidence to resolve an issue that he or she wants to resolve prior to the final divorce trial.
If evidence is presented on an issue, you need to ensure you have sufficient time to present that evidence. If the judge has not provided you with enough time to present your evidence during the conference, you should file a request for additional time prior to the conference.
Be Prepared for Your Resolution Management Conference
You should be prepared to discuss the issues in your case, your proposed solution to those issues, and the reasons supporting your position when you attend the hearing. You will also be required to complete a Resolution Management Conference Statement well prior to the hearing. You will outline the issues in your case and include your position on how those issues should be resolved.
Some people and their divorce attorneys are not prepared when they attend a Resolution Management Conference; which is unfortunate because this is likely the first hearing where you may be able to influence the judge that your position on a contested issue is the more reasonable option in your divorce.
It is important to be prepared for your Resolution Management Conference because some judges may tell your spouse that he or she believes your issue is more reasonable and may be able to convince your soon to be ex that he or she should consider accepting your offer or face a possible award of attorney fees in your case.
Call us at (480)305-8300 to schedule your personalized consultation with one of our Phoenix and Scottsdale Arizona divorce attorneys to discuss your upcoming Resolution Management Conference.
Chris Hildebrand wrote this article about what happens at a Resolution Management Conference in Arizona to ensure everyone has access to information about divorce laws in Arizona. Chris is a family law attorney at Hildebrand Law, PC. He has over 24 years of Arizona family law experience and has received multiple awards, including US News and World Report “Top Arizona Divorce Attorneys”, Phoenix Magazine “Top Divorce Law Firms”, and Arizona Foothills Magazine “Best of the Valley” award. He believes the policies and procedures he uses to get his clients through a divorce should all be guided by the principles of honesty, integrity, and actually caring about what his clients are going through.