Hey all, seems I only ever drop in to ask a question anymore, but I'm in need of some insight. Here's the background: I'm quickly approaching the climax of my newest project. In a nutshell, the story surrounds a married couple and their adopted daughter as they go through the early stages of a divorce. The bulk of the story has them at odds with each other, namely over custody arrangements, as the mother (my main) is a successful and busy IT administrator who is often forced to put work before her family and the father is just bouncing back from being laid off and struggling with feelings of emasculation (unable to provide, unable to impregnate his wife--hence the adoption, etc). But both characters feel the other is less than ideal to have primary custody, and both are unwilling to give up as much time as the other asks for. Despite attempts at working things out themselves, they eventually find that the only [apparent] way to settle their dispute is through legal means. Now, fortunately or unfortunately, I have absolutely no experience with child custody battles. I've managed to get almost to the end without having to dip my toes in legal waters, but with the climax looming ahead I need something with higher stakes than just mom and dad yelling again. My understanding is that after an initial complaint is filed and the other party is served, there is something called a Master's Conference which comes before any sort of trial. Ultimately, I don't need the conflict to go any further than this first legal step, since the parents will work something out shortly after due to outside circumstances. But I think it would be beneficial to have the climax scene in this legal setting, as it really pumps up the tension and the stakes. I've done quite a bit of research, but I've not found anything detailing exactly what this "Master's Conference" is like beyond generalities. This is where my [fortunate] lack of experience cuts me off at the knees. This is exactly the kind of scene I would rewrite from personal experience, except the well is bone dry. So, to my question. For anyone who is a lawyer or has gone through this process--how exactly does this Master's Conference work? What kinds of things happen during the proceeding? Is a decision made then and there, or is there time between? Etc... And, possibly, is there a different way to handle this at all? If I can avoid trying to get legal details right, I'd rather go that route, but I fear there is a lack of stakes high enough for a climax. If there is some other way to do it, I'm all for suggestions. For example, would it make sense for the parents and their lawyers to meet and discuss, outside of some official conference? Thank you in advance for any and all suggestions and assistance. I really do appreciate it!