California and Placer judges require that spouses and their lawyers attend a settlement conference before any divorce trial is held. The conference gives spouses a chance to discuss the dispute with a mediator and try to resolve their disputes between themselves. Where successful, a settlement conference can expedite the divorce and allow spouses to feel like they have some control over the situation. Although attendance at the conference is mandatory, no party is required to agree to any proposed resolution to the dispute. Settlement conferences are typically held at least 30 days before the trial date and sometimes are successful at solving any disputes.
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