What is a Divorce Resolution Plan Date?
The Resolution Plan Date is one of the first court dates you’ll have in your family law matter. But what is a Resolution Plan Date (or “RPD”)? What happens there?
Read on for answers.
Resolution Plan Date Basics
The Resolution Plan Date is not a hearing in front of a judge. It’s a meeting with Family Relations where they triage your case to evaluate the possibility of an amicable resolution and recommend to the court the level of court services your case is likely to need. Most RPDs are an hour or less.
A Family Relations Counselor conducts the Resolution Plan Date with clients and lawyers. Family Relations Counselors are employees of the Connecticut Judicial Branch and work for Family Services. (Family Relations Counselors are also referred to as Family Relations Officers. Plus, Family Services is also referred to as Family Relations. We know, it’s confusing!)
What Can Family Relations Recommend at the RPD?
The court services that the Family Relations counselor recommends can either be (1) ADR services from Family Relations or (2) traditional court functions such as hearings with a judge. Based on Family Services’ RPD recommendation, the court will place your case on the track that contains the relevant services. Additionally, the Court enters a Scheduling Order that sets out the important events for the rest of the case.
The Scheduling Order may include one or more Case Dates, a date for a Pretrial Conference, and trial dates. Just because multiple court dates are scheduled doesn’t mean that they will all happen. If you reach an out-of-court resolution, you can finalize your divorce earlier. It’s also important to note that the dates on the scheduling order may change.
Read: What is a Pretrial?
How the Family Relations Counselor Decides What to Recommend
To determine what track to recommend, at the RPD the Family Relations Counselor asks questions to help her evaluate:
- The areas where you and your spouse agree and disagree
- How likely you are to reach an agreement on any disputed issues, and
- The kind of help that may be available through the court to resolve your case as a whole.
In other words, the key items that inform the track the counselor recommends for you are the level of (1) complexity and (2) conflict in your case.
If the Family Relations Counselor determines that your case low complexity and low conflict, she will likely tell the court that you will need a relatively low level of court resources. An example of this type of case may be one where it looks like you and your spouse will be able to reach agreements outside of court, but you’ll need to gather and exchange information via Discovery before you’ll be able to fully settle your divorce and have an Uncontested Hearing.
Alternatively, the Family Relations Counselor may decide that your case has a high level of complexity or conflict, and will need more court resources. In that situation, for example, the counselor may recommend a full Family Relations Custody Evaluation or anticipate extensive financial Discovery like depositions. Or the counselor may feel the two of you are unlikely to be able to reach agreements without a judge, and that your case will require “Case Dates,” or substantive court hearings.
If you work with Freed Marcroft, your legal team will give you their impressions in advance of where your case is likely to fall on the spectrum based upon everything they know at the time.
Read: What Is a Divorce Trial?
How to Prepare for Your Resolution Plan Date
Prior to the Resolution Plan Date (or “RDP” for short), your lawyer will submit an updated financial affidavit if your case has any financial issues. Financial issues in family law matters include child support, property division, and alimony. In advance, Freed Marcroft’s attorneys develop a strategic plan for each client’s RPD that furthers their goals. They also explain what to expect at the Resolution Plan Date.
When is a Resolution Plan Date?
The Resolution Plan date is scheduled relatively early on in your case. Unless you had a restraining order or ex parte order in your case, the RPD will likely be your first interaction with the court.
What Happens if the Dates in the Scheduling Order Don’t Work With My Schedule?
If you have a conflict on any of the dates in the Scheduling Order, your lawyer may recommend filing a Motion for Continuance. A Motion for Continuance is a motion that you file to ask the court for a different court date. If the court grants the motion, generally speaking, the new date will be later than the original.
Based on the RPD, the court places the case on the appropriate track to allow for the applicable services, with a scheduling order that takes into account the needs of the case.
For more information about Connecticut divorce and family law, check out our Divorce Information and Facts.