Mass. R. Dom. Rel. P. Rule 16
Pre-Trial Procedure: Formulating Issues
In any action, the court may in its discretion direct the attorneys for the parties to appear before it for a conference to consider:
1. The simplification of the issues;
2. The necessity or desirability of amendments to the pleadings;
3. The possibility of obtaining admissions of fact and of documents which will avoid unnecessary proof;
4. The limitation of the number of expert witnesses;
5. The advisability of a preliminary reference of issues to a master;
6. The possibility of settlement;
7. Agreement as to damages; and
8. Such other matters as may aid in the disposition of the action.
The court shall make an order which recites the action taken at the conference, the amendments allowed to the pleadings, and the agreements made by the parties as to any of the matters considered, and which limits the issues for trial to those not disposed of by admissions or agreements of counsel; and such order when entered controls the subsequent course of the action, unless modified at the trial to prevent manifest injustice.