What Is A Divorce Preliminary Conference?

The purpose of this appearance is to let the court know what the issues are and to set a schedule for exchanging discovery.


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What Do I Need To Prepare For The Preliminary Conference?

Prior to your New York divorce preliminary conference, you and your attorney should have prepared your statement of Net Worth.

You should have also discussed the outstanding issues of the case with your attorney. Is custody an issue? Are you asking for child support or maintenance? What assets need to be divided?

The PC is often the starting point for negotiations so knowing the issues and knowing what you are asking for is important.

This is also the time to ask the court for temporary relief. If you want temporary custody of the children, temporary support, or exclusive use and possession of the marital residence, you may want to prepare and file a pendente lite motion prior to the PC.


What Happens At The Preliminary Conference?

During the PC,  your attorney will meet with the other attorney and fill out a Preliminary Conference Order (PC Order).

Depending on the judge, the attorneys may conference with either the court attorney or the judge without the parties present. In some cases, the judge will address the parties directly after the conference. Talk to your attorney about the practices of the particular judge you will appear before.

What’s in the PC order?

  • Background Information
    • When the summons was filed & Served
    • Date of Marriage
    • Names and ages of children
  • Attorney Contact Info
  • When the Statement of net Worth & Retainer Agreement were filed or are going to be filed
  • If there has ever been orders of protection filed
  • If a translator will be needed
  • If the parties have a prenup or separation agreement
  • The Grounds for divorce
  • Custody
    • If parenting time has been resolved
    • If decision making has been resolved
    • If an attorney for the child will be appointed
    • If forensics is required
  • Financial
    • If child support has been resolved
    • If maintenance has been resolved
    • If Equitable distribution has been resolved
    • Any other unresolved issues  
  • Discovery
    • Document production. When the following docs must be exchanged:  
      • Federal, state and local tax returns, including all schedules, K- 1’s, 1099’s, W-2’s and similar data.
      • Credit card statements for all credit cards used by a party.
      • Checking account statements, canceled checks and check registers for joint and individual accounts.
      • Brokerage account statements for joint and individual accounts.
      • Savings account statements for joint and individual accounts
      • Notice of Discovery & Inspection
      • Interrogatories
  • When depositions will be scheduled
  • Valuation/Financial Experts

You, your spouse, both attorneys, and the judge will sign. This is a court order so you are expected to adhere to the deadlines included. Failure to adhere to the order can negatively affect your case.

You can find A blank PC Form on the court’s website. Have a look before your PC so you are fully familiar with what you will be signing.

What Happens After The Preliminary Conference?

Once the PC is signed by the judge, you will receive a date for your Compliance Conference. This is a date to come back to check in on where you are in discovery. You may return before this date if someone files a motion.

Now that everyone knows the issues, this is often the point where people set up 4-way settlement conferences to see which issues, if any, can be solved.

The preliminary conference is the road map to obtaining discovery for your case. It’s where the parties and the court determine the outstanding issues so everyone can prepare for litigation. It’s a pretty straightforward process and nothing to be overly concerned about.

Ready to schedule a consultation for your New York divorce? Give us a call at 646-253-0584 or schedule your consultation today.