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Preliminary Conference Divorce New York

The Preliminary Conference in Divorce Proceedings in New York:

 An In-Depth Analysis Divorce proceedings are complex legal processes that involve the dissolution of a marriage, addressing issues such as property division, child custody, alimony, and more. In the state of New York, the preliminary conference plays a pivotal role in shaping the trajectory of the divorce case. This article delves into the intricate details of the preliminary conference in divorce proceedings in New York, highlighting its purpose, procedures, and significance.

Purpose of the Preliminary Conference

The preliminary conference serves as a crucial juncture in divorce proceedings in New York, aiming to streamline the process, ensure fairness, and promote efficient case management. It provides an opportunity for both parties, their attorneys, and the court to discuss key issues and outline a plan for the subsequent stages of the divorce process. The overarching objective is to resolve disputes amicably, avoiding lengthy litigation whenever possible.

Procedures Involved

  • Scheduling the Conference: Once a divorce petition is filed, the court schedules a preliminary conference. The notice is typically served to both parties or their respective attorneys, outlining the date, time, and location of the conference.
  • Mandatory Attendance: In New York, both parties are usually required to attend the preliminary conference. They can be accompanied by their attorneys, who play a pivotal role in facilitating communication and negotiation during the conference.
  • Submission of Preliminary Conference Statements: Prior to the conference, both parties are often required to submit preliminary conference statements. These documents detail each party’s stance on key issues such as child custody, spousal support, property division, and more. These statements help the court understand the points of contention and facilitate focused discussions during the conference.
  • Discussion of Key Issues: The preliminary conference begins with discussions about the contested matters outlined in the preliminary conference statements. These discussions can help identify areas of agreement and disagreement, laying the groundwork for further negotiations or formal litigation.
  • Case Management and Deadlines: During the conference, the court may set deadlines for discovery, document exchange, and the completion of certain tasks. This helps maintain a structured timeline for the divorce proceedings and ensures that both parties are aware of their responsibilities.
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR): The preliminary conference often includes discussions about alternative dispute resolution methods, such as mediation or collaborative law. These approaches aim to encourage parties to resolve issues outside of court, reducing the adversarial nature of divorce proceedings.
  • Next Steps: Based on the discussions and agreements reached during the preliminary conference, the court may schedule subsequent court appearances, mediation sessions, or settlement conferences. These steps facilitate the progress of the case and help keep it on track.

Significance of the Preliminary Conference:

The preliminary conference holds significant importance in New York divorce proceedings for several reasons:

Efficiency: By identifying issues and setting deadlines early on, the conference expedites the overall process, reducing the duration and costs associated with litigation.

Focused Negotiations: The conference forces both parties to address key issues, encouraging them to find common ground and negotiate in good faith.

Conflict Resolution: Through discussions and ADR options, the conference encourages amicable settlement, minimizing the emotional toll on all parties involved.

Case Management: The conference’s procedural guidance helps ensure that both parties adhere to a structured timeline, preventing unnecessary delays.

Court Resources: By addressing key issues upfront, the court’s resources are utilized more efficiently, reducing the burden on the judicial system.


In New York, the preliminary conference serves as a pivotal point in divorce proceedings, fostering efficient case management, conflict resolution, and the fair resolution of key issues. Through its comprehensive procedures, the conference aims to simplify the complex divorce process, promoting cooperation between parties and expediting the journey toward a final resolution. Understanding the detailed aspects of the preliminary conference is essential for anyone navigating the challenging terrain of divorce in New York. Contact The Law Offices of SRIS.P.C., today for effective legal representation & advice.


  1. What is a preliminary conference in a divorce case in New York?

A preliminary conference is a formal meeting between the parties involved in a divorce case and a judge or court attorney. It aims to address issues related to the divorce process, such as scheduling, discovery, and potential settlement.

  1. Who attends the preliminary conference?

The parties involved in the divorce (plaintiff and defendant) along with their respective attorneys are required to attend the preliminary conference. If either party is not represented by an attorney, they must attend the conference themselves.

  1. What is the purpose of the preliminary conference?

The purpose of the preliminary conference is to establish a framework for the divorce proceedings. This includes setting a timeline for the case, discussing potential settlement options, identifying key issues, and determining what information needs to be exchanged during the discovery phase.

  1. What happens during the preliminary conference?

During the conference, the judge or court attorney will discuss the issues in the case, such as child custody, spousal support, property division, and any other relevant matters. They will also address the possibility of settlement and guide the parties on procedural aspects.

  1. What documents are typically exchanged during the preliminary conference?

Parties are usually required to exchange financial disclosure documents, including statements of net worth, income, expenses, and assets. These documents help both sides understand the financial landscape of the case.

  1. Can the case be settled during the preliminary conference?

Yes, parties can discuss settlement options during the preliminary conference. If both sides are able to come to an agreement on certain issues, the judge or court attorney may help formalize the agreement.

  1. What happens if the parties can’t agree on certain issues during the preliminary conference?

If the parties cannot reach an agreement on certain issues, the case will proceed to the discovery phase, where both sides gather evidence, exchange information, and prepare their arguments for trial.

  1. Is attendance at the preliminary conference mandatory?

Yes, attendance is usually mandatory. Failing to attend the preliminary conference without a valid reason can lead to penalties or the case being dismissed.

  1. What is the timeline for the divorce process after the preliminary conference?

The timeline can vary based on the complexity of the case, court availability, and the parties’ willingness to cooperate. Generally, after the preliminary conference, parties move on to the discovery phase, followed by potential settlement negotiations and, if necessary, trial.

  1. Can I change attorneys after the preliminary conference?

Yes, you can change attorneys at any point during the divorce process, including after the preliminary conference. However, changing attorneys might affect the timeline and strategy of your case, so it’s advisable to make such decisions thoughtfully.

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