A settlement conference can be scheduled at the request of either party, and is a required next step if parties are unable to agree on issues at the case conference. A settlement conference is similar to a case conference in many respects. The parties and the judge will again attempt to narrow and/or resolve issues that can be decided or settled without a trial. However, the judge will be more focused on determining what attempts the parties have made to settle thus far in the process, and will be more aggressive in offering opinions on the issues at hand, and how those issues might play out if the matter goes to trial. Prior to the conference, each party is required to submit a settlement conference brief that includes a proposal for settling the matter completely.
If the case is to proceed to trial, the parties and the judge will estimate the time needed for the trial, and schedule one. At that time a trial management conference will also be scheduled. The judge who conducts a settlement conference on an issue will not be the judge who hears the matter at trial.
Settlement Conference Preparation & Documentation
The preparation and documentation for a settlement conference is similar to that for a case management conference. In a settlement conference, the party requesting the conference must file and serve on the other party a Form 17C: Settlement Conference Brief at least 7 days before the settlement conference date. The other party must file their brief within 4 days of the conference. The settlement conference brief is very similar to the case conference brief, but as indicated it must also include the party’s proposal for settlement. Both parties must also file a Form 14C: Confirmation at least 2 business days before the conference date.
For more information, call an Ontario divorce lawyer at (905) 581-7222. We at Feldstein Family Law Group P.C. serve Vaughan, Oakville, Mississauga, Markham, and the surrounding areas as well as clients in Aurora, Newmarket, King City, and other surrounding areas in the York Region.