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Pretrial Hearings

Wed, 09/05/2012 - 14:59 -- admin
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Pretrial hearings are held after discovery has closed. (See our material on Discovery for a complete discussion of this term, and its place in the divorce process.) The Pretrial is the time when the parties (and the GAL if there is one) are expected to discuss settlement, and to notify the judge of all issues that cannot be settled by agreement. This allows the judge to properly schedule the rest of the case.

At the Pretrial, the parties must submit Pretrial Statements, proposed orders and financial documents. See Final Orders and Financial Affidavits and Child Support for specific information about those documents.

The Pretrial Statement must include the following paragraphs:

  1. A brief description of the issues that are disputed

  2. A list of property in dispute, the value of the property, and whether or not appraisals will be submitted. This list should include as necessary:

    1. Real estate
    2. Pensions
    3. Accounts and investments
    4. Personal property
  3. Special circumstance that would justify:

    1. An adjustment to the child support guidelines
    2. An award of sole primary residential responsibility (custody)
    3. An unequal division of property
    4. Alimony
  4. A list of expert witnesses (if any)

  5. A list of other witnesses

  6. A list of any pending motions that the parties need the Court to address

  7. Any unresolved discovery issues or disputes

  8. The estimated length of the trial

  9. The Status of settlement negotiations or alternative dispute resolution

  10. Special circumstances (such as out of state witnesses) that will affect trial scheduling

  11. Whether or not a record of the trial is requested

As with all documents submitted to the Court it is CRUCIAL that this document be prepared thoughtfully. There are significant consequences that may flow from a poorly prepared or inadequate Pretrial Statement. For example, unless there are truly good reasons, a witness that is not listed on a pretrial statement will not be allowed to testify.

Either immediately following or at the Pretrial Hearing the Court will schedule the Final Hearing. If the final hearing is scheduled for 2 or more days then the Clerk will also schedule a Trial Management Conference. (If the final hearing is scheduled for less than 2 days the Clerk may schedule a trial management conference if the Clerk and Judge think it would be useful.) The trial management conference is the time for the parties and Judge to decide how the case will proceed, which issues still require a trial, and what pieces of evidence will be submitted. Any documents that will be used as evidence should be brought to the trial management conference so they can be marked as exhibits. (Original versions of documents should be brought.)

Mailing Address…

LARC

15 Green Street

Concord, NH 03301

Call LARC at 1-800-639-5290 or 603-224-3333

Este panfleto esta´ obtenible en Español.
Para pedir una copia, llame al
1-800-639-5290 o al 603-224-3333.

This pamphlet is based on the law in effect at the time of publication. It is issued as a public service for general information only, and is not a substitute for legal advice about the facts of your particular situation.

Category: 
Date: 
July 2014
Author: 
Legal Advice & Referral Center

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