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Step Five: The first meeting with the court and how to prepare

At the first court date, what happens will depend on whether or not your spouse responded to the divorce papers you filed.

If they “answered” and filed a counter-claim (their own paperwork asking for a divorce), the first court hearing you will be scheduled for is called a “Trial Management Conference.” At this conference, the court will help you figure out what your next step should be. If you and your spouse come to an agreement before your scheduled trial management conference, you can notify the court and request a Final Uncontested Hearing sooner. We explain all of your options in more detail below.

If they did not “answer” and didn’t file their own paperwork asking for a divorce, the court assumes that they don’t contest the divorce. If this is the case, your first hearing will be an “uncontested final hearing.” This doesn’t always mean that this will be your last court hearing. You will still need to work out any disagreements you have with your spouse about the divorce. We explain all of your options in more detail below.

If you are having a hard time understanding the paperwork the court sent you, check out our explanations of these notices: