An Initial Case Management Conference (“ICMC”) is the first scheduled court hearing in divorce and other family law proceedings in many (but not all) Minnesota counties. The counties that do have ICMC hearings have similar policies and procedures for the Initial Case Management Conference. The ICMC is usually scheduled within the first month after the initial divorce documents (the Summons and Petition for Dissolution of Marriage) have been filed with the Court. An ICMC Data Sheet needs to be completed prior to the Initial Case Management Conference. Some counties require you to submit/file the ICMC Data Sheet a few days prior to the ICMC, and some counties simply require you to bring the ICMC Data Sheet on the day of the ICMC, and provide copies to the other party and to the Court.
At the ICMC, if you and the opposing party have reached any agreements on either temporary or permanent issues, you can read those agreements into the court record, and the court will issue an order incorporating such agreements. The ICMC is not an opportunity to argue your position with the court.
If you do not have an agreement on all issues relevant to your divorce at the time of the ICMC, it is very common for the parties to agree, at the time of the ICMC, to participate in an Early Neutral Evaluation (“ENE”) as a means to facilitate an agreement on any remaining disputed issues. The parties will usually choose ENE evaluators from the selection that is provided at the Courthouse at the time of the ICMC, and incorporate the terms of the ENE in an ICMC Order.
There is oftentimes some strategizing that is involved with one's approach to the ICMC. Each county, and even each judge, handles the ICMC differently. At the ICMC, it may or may not be in your best interests to reduce certain agreements reached to an order at the time of the ICMC. The attorneys at Blahnik, Prchal & Stoll will advise their clients during this process and ensure their case starts off on the right path.