This sounds vaguely improper but it is the term used to describe the Court mandated meeting between the parties and their lawyers that must take place prior to the pretrial conference. This requirement is set forth in each Judges’ pretrial order. It is important that before this occurs substantially all of the discovery is done, the valuation reports and appraisals are complete and have been exchanged and the GAL report has been done and reviewed by the parties and counsel. This allows counsel to have done asset division charts showing various choices etc. Often the lawyers will have exchanged draft agreements as well. The parties’ financial statements should be updated and exchanged too.
The purpose of a four way conference is to try and settle the case. Even if the case can’t be settled at the four way, at least the parties and the attorneys may be able to narrow the issues they are arguing about. It is not uncommon to be able to resolve parenting issues and still be fighting about asset division or support.
This then sets the stage for the pretrial memo and the pretrial conference (to be discussed in future posts.)