Your next step may be a status conference with the Magistrate. You may have more than one status conference during the course of your case. At these meetings, the Magistrate assesses where you are with your case and where to go from here. The Magistrate's goal is to move your case along as quickly as possible but also carefully. These are some typical options:
- If you or the Magistrate think that more mediation would help you resolve more issues, you may be sent back to mediation. (The $160 fee covers two sessions. If you go beyond two sessions, you must pay another fee - unless you get a fee waiver.)
- After two mediation sessions, or whenever the mediator decides that further mediation is not going to help, the mediator will probably schedule you for a Pre-Trial Conference (also called a "pre-try").
- If you have resolved all issues since the last mediation, the Magistrate can hold a brief uncontested hearing, review your agreement and sign a final order. Or the Magistrate can schedule your final uncontested hearing on another day.
NOTE: If your final hearing is uncontested, or if child support is the only remaining issue, the Magistrate will hold the final hearing. You can request that a Judge hear your case instead. This option could slow your case down - and in most cases does not provide any real advantage.
In all other cases (all contested hearings with issues other than child support), the final contested hearing is held by a Judge.