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Hello, I am Daphna Schwartz and I am an associate at Feldstein Family Law Group.

Today, I will be discussing what you can expect when you go to court.

When you are going to court for the first time, it will likely be for a case conference. This is an attendance before a judge with the parties and their lawyers.

You will be advised by your lawyer of your court date and time, usually 6 -12 weeks in advance. Your lawyer will also advise you where and when to meet him/her at the courthouse on the day of your attendance.

It is important to meet with your lawyer at court on the day of your matter so that your lawyer will have adequate time to brief you and to obtain any additional information or instructions from you.

It is also important to dress professionally and modestly.

Further, you should bring with you any documents that your lawyer may request and a pad of paper to take notes.

You are welcome to bring a relative/friend with you to the courthouse if you need to, but this person may not be allowed into the courtroom during the hearing of your matter, unless the other side and judge agree.

Your matter may be one of a number of matters on the list for that time and you may not be heard by the judge right away. The judge decides the order in which the cases set for a particular time will be heard. Your lawyer has no control over when the court will hear you.

In Toronto, conferences are set at specific appointed times so if your matter is on for 10 a.m., you will likely be heard at or about that time.

Regardless of the time your matter is scheduled, you should be prepared to be at court the entire day and should arrange your work and child care obligations accordingly.

Prior to the court attendance, your lawyer will have prepared a brief on your behalf that sets out your positon with respect to the issues still in dispute.

Your brief will have been served on the other lawyer or party and filed with the court. The other party’s lawyer will also have served and filed a brief. The judge will have read these briefs before the court attendance.