One of the first court appearances where you may actually get to see the judge in your New Jersey divorce case is the case management conference. This is an opportunity for your lawyer to fill out the Case Management Order which will govern what is due when, who has to do what and how some costs will be split. In many counties, the lawyers for both sides will fill out the form ahead of time and submit it to the court which thus prevents everyone from having to appear. However, some judges do no allow this. Furthermore, some cases may be complex and thus require an in-person appearance to discuss these issues with the judge. Most of the time, the clients don’t have to appear but you should check with your divorce lawyer to see what he or she wants you to do.
The issues in the case management order will involve discovery deadlines, appraisals of the house, pension and other items as well as child custody issues. Most courts will then give you an ESP date or at least notify you as to what month your ESP will be in.