What is a Status Conference for Child Custody? 

A status conference is a court meeting that enables parties to learn more about each other’s priorities and concerns and to set out a course of action. A status conference may be the result of a mediator’s recommendation or a judge’s order. In either case, the goal is to reach a fully agreed-upon custody arrangement. 

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A status conference can be conducted by a court facilitator, a member of the court, or by a third party. The court or judge will determine the best time to hold the conference and may set a deadline for filing a response. The court may also schedule a conference several times before the case is closed. 

A status conference can be a great time to establish a new discovery plan and set crucial deadlines for the exchange of documents. It can also be the start of discussions about parenting classes or financial documents. A status conference can also be an opportunity to set temporary orders. It may involve child support, maintenance or the payment of marital debt. A temporary order is an order that remains in effect until a final hearing takes place. 

A status conference can also be a good time to identify what the judge is looking for in a settlement agreement. For example, what are the issues that need to be resolved and how will they be resolved? This is a great time to talk with your attorney about drafting a child support worksheet or a settlement agreement. 

A status conference can also be the launching pad for other court meetings. The judge may also refer parents to mediation. These types of conferences are helpful for parents who have reached a consensus on some matters but are still hamstrung by others. A mediated settlement conference is similar to a half-hour ERC, but the focus is on reaching an agreement. 

A status conference is an important part of the custody process. It allows the parties to find out more about each other and to make sure they are on the same page. It also gives the court a chance to evaluate whether the parties are making progress or if more court meetings are required. 

During a status conference, the judge may ask a series of questions about the parties’ current positions on various issues. These are designed to find out more about the strengths and weaknesses of the parties’ positions and the strengths and weaknesses of the proposed resolutions. The judge will then consider the merits of a settlement before scheduling the next round of court appointments. The court may choose to accept a GAL’s recommendation or it may decide to explore alternative dispute resolutions such as mediation or ADR. 

A status conference is often the deciding factor in a high-conflict child custody case. It is a good idea to have a clear idea of what you want from your divorce and custody agreement before your first conference. 

At the end of a status conference, the judge makes a formal recommendation to the court. In the case of a modification or enforcement case, a Parenting Coordinator or a Special Master is appointed to oversee the proceedings.