Pre-Trial in Family Court

Pre-Trial in Family Court
A Pre-Trial is held in a Courtroom before a Judge

What’s a Pre-Trial? 

  • In Minnesota family court cases, a pre-trial is typically the last court appearance before the actual trial.  
  • Parties and their attorneys’ are required to attend unless excused by the court.
  • It usually occurs after the parties have all participated in alternative dispute resolution (ADR), like mediation, and after all discovery has been completed.
  • It’s held typically, though not necessarily, around a month before the trial date. However, this can greatly vary depending on the court’s schedule and the time needed to prepare for trial.
  • Seven days before the pre-trial, parties provide a Personal and Financial Disclosure statement.  This updates the Judge about the current status of custody and financial issues. 

Pre-Trial Purposes

  1. First, attorneys inform the Judge what issues the parties still disagree on.  This allows the Judge to anticipate what may be argued eventually at trial.  It also makes clear what the parties do not expect to argue and have agreed on.
  2. Second, attorneys work with the judge to make scheduling arrangements towards the trial.  This includes exchanging witness and exhibit lists and how long out to schedule the trial.
  3. Third, many judges encourage the parties to try to work to settle remaining issues.  Some judges require the parties to meet for a certain period of time to at least try to negotiate in good faith.

If, after the pre-trial is over, the parties still have issues in dispute, the case moves forward towards a trial.  However, parties may still work towards settlement up until the trial.  Along those lines, if the parties are able to settle all issues, a trial is not needed.

If you have more questions, please review the links to the left, head back to the MN Family Law Attorney home, or visit Majeski Law.  If you’re interested in retaining an attorney, please feel free to email or call using the links in the upper right.