What is an Initial Case Management Conference?

The Initial Case Management Conference is at the Courthouse
The Initial Case Management Conference is at the Courthouse

In a Minnesota divorce, custody or family law case, the Notice for the Initial Case Management Conference is typically the second document you receive from the Court. Generally, this notice comes after or along with the Notice of Case Filing and the Notice of Case Assignment. 

These notices signal to you that your case has been filed with the Court.  In other words, the Court is getting started on your case.

The Initial Case Management Conference is known typically as an ICMC. In most cases, the ICMC is the first time you’ll appear in Court.  The ICMC notice informs you of the date, time, and location of ICMC. 

You are required to attend the ICMC.  If you have a conflict, you can request a continuance from the Court.

The ICMC notice will explain what the ICMC process is.  It also informs you that you need to complete a document titled the ICMC Data Sheet.

Typically, the ICMC data sheet must be filed with the Court and served on the other party five days before the ICMC. However, different county Courts may have different procedures.  It’s your responsibility to know these and abide by them.

Initial Case Management Conference: ADR

In addition to the above, the Notice of ICMC  may discuss other processes.  These include: Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), Early Neutral Evaluation (ENE), scheduling, appraisals, and discovery. All of these processes can potentially be a part of your case.   Some are in Court.  Others are with private professionals.

The most notable “other” process is ADR.  These are mediation, ENEs, etc.  They are designed to try to help parties resolve cases without needing a trial.  The Judge will talk to you about these.  In addition, except when there’s abuse, the Judge will expect you to try at least one.

If you’re feeling unsure about these processes (ADR, ENE, Discovery, etc…) or don’t know how to prepare for them, your best course of action may be either to hire a family law attorney or try a legal self-help clinic. Regardless of whether you’re represented or not, the Judge will expect you to be prepared to discuss these processes and issues.

Judges generally are pleased when the parties have worked together and reached agreements on these processes and issues before talking to the Judge at the ICMC. 

Lastly, if you have a family law attorney or divorce lawyer, he or she may be sent the Notice of ICMC from the Court instead. In that case your attorney should give you a copy. You should keep this copy of the Notice of ICMC for your personal records. 

For other divorce or family law questions, please consult the list to the left or the FAQ page.  If you’re interested in retaining an attorney to help you, please feel free to contact my office for a consultation using the contact information on the left or the contact form on the Majeski Law home page.  For Court rules, please click here.