CASE MANAGER'S CONFERENCE
If you and your spouse have children under 18 years old, the first thing that will happen in court after you file the Complaint is a meeting with the case manager. The case manager is an impartial employee of the court who is knowledgeable about parental responsibilities and child support. She or he is a type of social worker whose job is to try to help you agree to a parenting schedule and child support.
Note: some Vermont courts have started scheduling cases for case manager's conferences even if there are no minor children involved. These courts hope that the case manager can help you come to an agreement on property division and spousal maintenance - so you don't need any court time with the judge.
The case manager is not a mediator, and won't push either of you to accept an offer and settle your case. But the case manager can answer questions at the case manager’s conference, suggest ways that you and the other party can agree to share or divide parental responsibilities, and show you what a judge would likely order for child support.
At this meeting, which will happen in an office or conference room in the courthouse (but not in the courtroom), you, the other party, and the case manager will try to reach an agreement on child custody and child support. If you or the other party has a lawyer, the lawyer will be present as well. The case manager can also help reach an agreement on any other issues in the divorce. If you do come to an agreement at the case manager’s conference, the case manager will help you fill out basic agreements and send the agreements to the judge or magistrate to review. Usually, the judge or magistrate will approve an agreement drafted by the case manager.
What should I bring to the Case Manager’s Conference?
You should bring these documents to the Case Manager's Conference:
Your Financial Affidavit (form 813)
A month's worth of your pay stubs
Your past three years of tax returns
What if I don't have all of these documents?
Try your best to get them. You can ask your employer for copies of your pay stubs, and you can order copies of your tax returns from the IRS here. If you don't have all of these documents though, don't worry. Do your best to fill out the Financial Affidavit - it's the most important one.
Additional common questions about the Case Manager’s Conference:
Do I have to agree to anything?
No. The conference is to help you agree on any issues that you can. The case manager's job is to convince you to agree if possible. That way, the court uses less judge and courtroom time. You are not required to agree, but you ARE required to attend.
Can I bring a lawyer?
Yes! If your lawyer has filed an appearance, he or she should be at the Case Manager's Conference. Ask your lawyer about what you might agree to at the meeting.
What happens if we don't agree to anything?
Nothing. The court will schedule a hearing on a Temporary Order.