What is a Case Date?
In 2021, the Connecticut Judicial Branch unveiled a new Pathways Process for Connecticut family law cases, including divorce, custody, and visitation cases. The Pathways Process changes the way that family law cases are handled in the State of Connecticut, including in Fairfield County, with the goal of streamlining cases to the greatest extent possible.
As part of the Pathways Process, Fairfield County divorce litigants will now be assigned at least one Court date called a “Case Date.” Unlike a Resolution Plan Date, a Case Date can be a day where contested issues are heard by a judge. Those issues can be substantive issues, such as temporary parental access, temporary alimony or child support, or exclusive occupancy of a family home, or discovery issues, or some combination of the foregoing. The Case Date can also serve as a Status Conference, where the parties and their counsel can report to the Court on the status of the case and obtain scheduling orders, as needed. Whether the Case Date will serve as a hearing or as a Status Conference depends on a number of factors, including the number and complexity of issues to be addressed at the Case Date, the amount of time allotted for the Case Date on a particular day, and whether or not the parties agree on what issues should be heard the Case Date. If the contested issues in a case require Court time beyond what is allotted for the Case Date, it is possible to request that the Court assign additional hearing time so that these issues can be decided prior to a final trial.
How Many Case Dates will My Case be Assigned?
The majority of cases will be assigned one Case Date. Highly contested cases where numerous issues arise during the pendency of the case will be assigned two Case Dates.
When will a Case Date be Scheduled in My Connecticut Divorce Case?
Typically, the Case Date will take place after the Resolution Plan Date. The current goal is for the Case Date to occur within thirty to sixty days after the Resolution Plan Date, although that is not always the case. If two Case Dates are assigned, the second Case Date will be five to six months following the Resolution Plan Date.
Where do Case Dates Take Place?
Most Case Dates are scheduled to take place in-person in the courthouse in which your divorce case is pending. Occasionally, Case Dates will be scheduled to take place remotely via Microsoft Teams. It is the Court’s decision whether a Case Date will be in-person or remote.
Do I Need to File Documents in Advance of My Case Date?
Yes. Each party must file with the Court sworn Financial Affidavits if there are pending motions that concern financial issues. If child support is one of the temporary issues to be decided, each party must file Child Support Guidelines calculations. If there are several motions pending in a case, the parties must file a List of Pending Motions, delineating the motions they request to have heard at the Case Date in order of priority, as well as those motions that can wait until the next Case Date or trial. If a party intends to offer exhibits at the Case Date, copies of those exhibits must be exchanged with the opposing party and provided to the Court. Proposed Orders with a party’s requested relief for the Case Date are not required, but can very often be helpful to the judge presiding over the Case Date.
Broder Orland Murray & DeMattie LLC is a Westport and Greenwich family law firm. We have experience in dealing with all aspects of Connecticut divorce cases. We encourage people thinking about divorce to schedule a consultation to have their questions answered and to have the process explained to them by an experienced Fairfield County divorce attorney.