Case management is a pre-trial meeting between parties and a judge to help manage pre-trial matters related to court applications and/or trial. Case management allows parties to better understand what issues must be addressed before or at trial. The goal of case management is to create a smooth court process and handle as many issues before trial as possible. This may include creating a pre-trial plan for handling certain matters.
Although case management is part of a court process, it is less formal than a trial. Judges are still able to make court orders at these hearings. Only parties to a family law matter or their lawyers and a judge can participate in a case management hearing. Case management often saves time and money for parties to a dispute.
Many family matters begin with a case management hearing. Certain matters, such as uncontested divorces, or other matters where parties consent to a court order, may not have a case management hearing. If you have a disagreement over who, how, when, where, or why, someone will parent your child, pay child/spousal support, or divide property you own together, you will likely begin your court matter with a case management hearing.
If your case management hearings concern is about child support or parenting decisions, the court will automatically set a case management hearing date. If your case involves something in addition to child support or parenting (such as property division, spousal support, etc.), you can ask the court registry clerk to schedule a case management hearing for those claims. However, this can only be done after the one of the following:
- A response has been filed; OR
- The applicant has filed an affidavit of service showing that the Originating Application has been served and the time for filing a response has expired.
Once your case management hearing is scheduled, the court will notify the other side, or their lawyer, about the case management hearing. All parties involved in a matter must be prepared for their matter and must attend case management hearings in person. Although case management is less formal than open court, it is a court date and judges can still make orders with or without you being there.
Normally, parties will have several case management hearings before proceeding to a different court hearing. This is because case management allows parties to handle their matter with less rules and strict procedures.