January 20, 2019

Family Law Tentative Ruling Announcements

Please note that the family court issues tentative ruling announcements on the court day prior to the scheduled hearing for specific types of motions. Tentative rulings are only provided on the Internet and posted in the clerk’s office lobby. Internet postings occur at 1:30pm daily at www.stanct.org.

Parties are not required to give notice of intent to appear to preserve the right to a hearing. The tentative ruling will not become final until the hearing. (Stan. Cnty. Local Rules, rule 7.05.1) However, as a courtesy to the Court, and other parties or counsel with matters on calendar, notice of intended appearance or non-appearance is encouraged and may be sent by e-mail to the following address: familylaw.tentatives@stanct.org between the hours of 1:30 P.M. and 4:00 P.M. If you do not receive a confirmation e-mail from the clerk, you may call to speak directly with a Calendar Clerk at 209-530-3107.

Any party filing pleadings or documents on a tentative ruling matter within five (5) days of the hearing should provide a courtesy copy to the Courtroom Clerk and the Court’s Family Law Research Attorney by placing a copy in the drop box slot on the door of Room 223, Second Floor of the main Courthouse. Failure to do so may prevent the Court from consideration of such, may result in a continuance, and/or may be considered in the award of conduct-based fees and costs. (Stan. Cnty. Local Rules, rule 7.05.1(B).)

All parties and counsel are required to meet and confer in a good faith effort to resolve the dispute on any request, motion or hearing, with the exception of those involving domestic violence, and to exchange any documents upon which reliance will be made at the hearing. (Cal. Rules of Ct., rule 5.98; Stan. Cnty. Local Rules, rule 7.05.1(C).) Failure to do so may result in a continuance and may be considered in the award of conduct-based fees and costs, or both. If sufficient information regarding an adequate pre-hearing meet and confer effort is not provided in the moving and opposing papers, in the Court’s discretion, the matter may be placed at the end of the calendar and not called until the parties or counsel advise the Court that they have complied with their obligations and/or resolved the matter.

Date: January 22, 2019                                 

The following are the tentative ruling cases calendared before Judge Alan Cassidy in Department #11:


The following are the tentative ruling cases calendared before Judge Valli K. Israels in Department #13:

 689450 - JOBE VS MILLER

Attorney for Respondent’s Motion to Be Relieved—GRANTED.

The effective date of the order relieving counsel is delayed until proof of service of the order on the client has been filed with the Court.  (Cal. Rules of Ct., rule 3.1362(e).)


Respondent’s Request for Order re Property—APPEARANCE REQUIRED.

Regarding the property issues, there is a conflict in the declarations of the parties about which neither has submitted any corroborating documentary evidence.  An evidentiary hearing is therefore necessary.

With regard to the home refinancing issue, the Court has no jurisdiction to “re-write” the parties’ Marital Settlement Agreement (MSA), or to insert consequences for exceeding the allotted refinancing time frame about which the MSA, itself, is silent. Judgment provisions regarding property rights are not modifiable. (Leupe v. Leupe (1942) 21 Cal.2d 145, 148; Esserman v. Esserman (1982) 136 Cal.App.3d 572.)  Once marital property has been divided by a dissolution judgment that has become final, a court generally loses jurisdiction to modify or alter the property disposition. (Marriage of Thorne & Raccina (2012) 203 Cal.App.4th 492, 499.)  Even where division is unequal, the parties may divide their estate as they see fit in a dissolution case and the Court’s role thereafter is limited to enforcing the agreement as written, not as interpreted in hindsight based on the subsequent dissatisfaction of either party.  (Fam. Code § 2550; Marriage of Nassimi (2016) 3 Cal.App.5th 667, 691-692; Hogoboom & King, Cal. Pract. Guide, Fam. L., Ch. 17-E, § 17:340-341.)  Petitioner asserts that the home remains in a negative equity position due to the additional encumbrance made jointly by the parties during marriage.  However, Petitioner also affirms that neither loan is in default and that all payments have been made on time.  If Petitioner’s assertions are true, there is no risk of foreclosure and Respondent does not identify what financial hardship or business interference is being caused by this situation.  While the Court’s enforcement jurisdiction has been reserved, it is unclear from Respondent’s motion what, precisely, is being requested.  Assuming the property remains in a negative equity position or below industry-standard LTV ratios for refinancing purposes, the Court is not inclined to order Petitioner to do the impossible.  As the moving party, it is Respondent’s burden to demonstrate that this would not be the case.

As for the vehicle and bank account issues, the declarations of the parties are diametrically opposed and the issues are binary: Respondent’s name either has or has not been removed by Petitioner.  Accordingly, the parties are ordered to meet and confer and to exchange any non-impeachment documents upon which material reliance will be made at the hearing, which should presumably resolve the dispute; the parties shall do likewise with respect to any documents regarding the existing loan balance and estimated market value of the subject residence.  (Cal. Rules of Ct., rule 5.98.)  After doing so, the parties may notify the Court as to any stipulations and be heard as to any remaining disputes.

The following are the tentative ruling cases calendared before Judge Jack M. Jacobson in Department #14:


The following are the tentative ruling cases calendared before Judge Kellee Westbrook in Department #25:

8008163 - LEMOS VS LEMOS

Petitioner’s Request for Order re Compel Further Discovery—GRANTED, in part.

Respondent shall provide full and complete responses to Petitioner’s Form Interrogatories – Family Law, Nos. 5, 7, 10, 11 and 15, within fifteen (15) days of this Order.  Petitioner’s request for sanctions is denied.  Petitioner did not provide notice of the amount in the FL-300 form that serves the function of a civil Notice of Motion, did not include a declaration from counsel substantiating the amount requested, and did not address the factors required for conduct-based sanctions.  (Code Civ. Proc. § 2023.040; Blumenthal v. Superior Court (1980) 103 Cal.App.3d 317, 320; Cal. Rules of Ct., rule 5.427; Fam. Code § 271.) Moreover, Respondent did not file opposition to the motion.  Consequently, discovery sanctions are denied on the basis of procedural compliance, but conduct-based sanctions are denied without prejudice, and the Court reserves jurisdiction over the discovery non-compliance demonstrated by Respondent in this dispute for later consideration when the actions and tactics of both parties may be comparatively considered in the context of the litigation as a whole.  (Marriage of Davenport (2011) 194 Cal.App.4th 1507, 1515; Marriage of Freeman (2005) 132 Cal.App.4th 1, 6.)