This can occur both in Probate Court and Juvenile Court, but typically in a Juvenile Court where most of these cases are dealt with. All parties along with their attorneys must present at the Pre-Trial Conference. There can be some reasons to excuse the clients abuses. Usually, you want to ask ahead of time and different Judges have different Pre-Trial styles. The idea with a Pre-Trial Conference is sometimes it can be a Joint Pre-Trial Conference Memorandum and other times each party does their own separate ones.
It is the idea to try and either see if there can be any agreements; see if there are any stipulations or possibility of settlement; narrow the issues for trial; give examples of witnesses, expert witnesses, documentary evidence and so forth.
Sometimes the trial is scheduled prior to the Pre-Trial or all the court dates are scheduled other times the trial is either picked at the Pre-Trial date or the trial maybe continued depending on where the progress and where everyone is at the Pre-Trial date along with the time standards.