A judge has the ability to help you settle the case at each step. The judge can recommend but not impose a settlement. If you and your ex-partner cannot resolve your case, it moves forward to the next step.
The judge has the power to make certain orders at the conferences, even if neither of you agrees. Rule 17(8) sets out which orders judges are permitted to make at conferences:
At a case conference, settlement conference or trial management conference, the judge may, if it is appropriate to do so:
- Make an order for document disclosure (rule 19), questioning (rule 20) or filing of summaries of argument on a motion, set the times for events in the case or give directions for the next step or steps in the case.
- Order that the evidence of a witness at trial be given by affidavit.
- If notice has been served, make a temporary or final order.
- Make an unopposed order or an order on consent.
- On consent, refer any issue for alternative dispute resolution.
At a case conference, a judge will usually make the following orders:
- An order for document disclosure
- Interim child and spousal support orders (unless there is a substantial
dispute over whether there is an entitlement to receive support, or there is a significant issue about the actual income of a spouse)
- Preservation orders (orders that restrain the parties from disposing of
- Any orders that the parties make on consent