After the temporary hearing, certain documents must be exchanged between the parties, or their attorneys. These include financial affidavits, stating their current income and the value of their property. At this time, the parties will also complete Child Support Guidelines. These require the parties to enter financial information in order to determine the amount of money the parent who does not have physical custody of the children will owe the parent who is caring for the children on a daily basis.
A pretrial conference occurs after the temporary hearing and financial information is exchanged, although this may be waived. This conference is generally a chance for the parties to further discuss the contested matters and try to come to an agreement. The next step would be a mediation, where this discussion would be continued with a professional mediator. Some jurisdictions require mediation, while there are some cases where mediation may be waived due to the relationship between the parties if they are unable to come to any agreement or discuss the matters in a reasonable manner.
Before trial, both parties may conduct investigations. This may include requesting the other party answer questions, provide documents, and it may also involve speaking with potential witnesses who can testify at trial on behalf of either party. These witnesses will generally be asked questions on the stand that will verify the fitness of the parent to care for his or her children.