To get a Utah divorce or family law case to trial, you must first go through a Commissioner Pretrial Conference. From this hearing comes what is called a pretrial order. It is very important that the pretrial order states each and every issue you plan on having the court decide at the end of the trial. If the pretrial order does not specifically list an issue, you could very well not be able to present evidence on that issue, or get a decision at the end of the trial on that issue. Similarly, all issues on the pretrial order will be considered and ruled on by the court.
After the pretrial conference, it is very likely that the court will schedule your case for another attempt at settlement, called a judicial settlement conference. This will be very similar to your mediation, only the person attempting to facilitate a settlement will be an active, Utah state district court judge. However, the judge will not be the judge that will be hearing your case at trial. Instead, most judges have reciprocal arrangements with each other that they will try to get the parties to settle the cases that are set for trial with the other judge. The judge will not charge a fee for this service. The benefit of this type of settlement conference is that you may very well be able to gain valuable insight into the views of the trial judge from a colleague of that judge. I have never had a judicial settlement conference that I felt was a waste of time, despite the fact that every single time my clients believed the judicial settlement conference would be a waste of time. This is just one of those things you have to trust your attorney on. Judicial settlement conferences are good for you, good for your attorney, and good for your case. And, there is always the benefit that you might be able to settle the case with an acceptable result. The judge, however, will not act as your attorney or give you legal advice. But, most judges will give you general opinions on the reasonableness of your position.
If you have a divorce case you need help with, or a judicial settlement conference that you need counsel on, you can call my firm. Consults are free and our fees are reasonable in light of our extensive litigation experience. 801.312.9330