Q: Do I need to attend the meeting before the pretrial conference? MA probate.
Custody battle. I am filing on terms of parental alienation, emotional and physiological abuse. There's a pre trial conference but the other parties lawyer emailed me stating the court requires a meeting beforehand. I don't feel comfortable speaking in this meeting with just myself and them. DCF is no help. Court isn't doing much to move this along and I keep getting the run around. I haven't seen my kid since February and nobody seems to care. There has been an ARC attorney appointed but no call backs have been made.
The pretrial order you received from the court should explain exactly what you need to do and when. Some judges require the parties to meet at least a week or two before the hearing. If you decline to meet the other party's attorney will likely bring that to the court's attention. This doesn't apply if there is a 209A restraining order in place, but that is typically the only reason.
The reason for the four-way meeting is to try to get the parties to come to an agreement and resolve the issues themselves. The parties have a lot more control over the outcome by coming to an agreement, even if it isn't exactly what they want. Otherwise, the court will make a decision based on only the information conveyed to them, which means anything could happen.
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A: If there are no abuse protection restraining orders in place pre-pandemic there was a face to face 4 way meeting required for the parties and their counsel to attend in person sufficiently prior to the Pretrial Conference hearing date to attempt resolution or at least discussion to determine whether there were any areas of agreement . Now, under the pandemic in place of physical meetings, Zoom conferences or teleconferences are the method for holding meetings and Court hearings as well. You will need to agree to such a conference.
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