August 16, 2018

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

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: 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: August 16, 2018                                                                       

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:


Petitioner’s Request for Order re Enforcement of Judgment—APPEARANCE REQUIRED.

Respondent is already obligated to pay the amount claimed pursuant to the judgment, and the Court may order Respondent to comply, but further non-compliance by Respondent may result in contempt and other remedies that do not necessarily or immediately result in a payment of money to Petitioner.  As a money judgment, Petitioner may be better served by seeking enforcement under the Enforcement of Judgments Act, which provides direct means to secure payment, including the ability to file a renewal and obtain compounded interest at the legal rate.  However, this is a decision that rest entirely with Petitioner.  As for the medical expenses, Petitioner has not provided the Court with sufficient evidence regarding the nature and amount involved, and a hearing is necessary.

The Self-Help Center offers free help to people who are representing themselves in Court in a variety of legal matters.  Assistance is provided daily on a walk-in first-come, first-served basis.  Office Hours are Monday – Thursday, 8:00 a.m. to noon and 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., and Fridays 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm.  Location:  800 11th Street, Room 220, Modesto, California.

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

8009863 – POTTER V. POTTER

Petitioner’s request for order (RFO) re pre-distribution of community funds and deposit of Ardenwood and X-Recovery monies into blocked account – APPEARANCE REQUIRED

The court will continue the temporary orders that the funds from the sale of the parties’ Ardenwood property, as well as a distribution respondent allegedly took from a company called X Recovery, be placed and kept in a trust account.  Petitioner has also requested a pre-distribution of community assets.  The court cannot consider this request without knowing the amount of funds she wishes to receive, the source of those funds, and the reason why she requests those funds.  The parties are to appear to discuss and/or take evidence on these issues with the court.

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


Respondent’s Request for Order re Statement of Decision, etc.—DENIED.

A request for order is not the customary vehicle with which to request a statement of decision and Respondent offers no authority to do so.  (Cal. Rules of Ct., rule 3.1590.)  Furthermore, Respondent offers no evidence that any request for a statement of decision was ever made prior to or contemporaneously with the hearing; typically, this omission waives the right to request a statement of decision.  (Code Civ. Proc. §§ 632, 634; Fam. Code §§ 2338(a), 3022.3, 3654; Cal. Rules of Ct., rules 3.1590, 3.1591; Marriage of Cauley (2006) 138 Cal.App.4th 1100, 1109; Hogoboom & King, Cal. Prac. Guide Family L. Ch. 15-B, 15:92, 15:96.)  Nevertheless, a Tentative Statement of Decision was issued by the Court and served on counsel by electronic mail on April 23, 2018, with the proviso that it would serve as the Court’s final statement of decision absent timely and proper request.  This request was due on or before May 7, 2018, whereas Respondent filed the present motion on June 29, 2018, seeking a statement of decision, and is therefore untimely.  (Cal. Rules of Ct., rule 3.1590(a), (c), (d); Code Civ. Proc. § 1010.6.) 

 However, even had Respondent filed a timely and proper request, the Court finds that Respondent proffers insufficient evidence that the Court’s Tentative Statement of Decision failed to resolve any principal controverted issues at trial based on alleged comments by the Court at the hearing of April 24, 2018.  Respondent offers no transcript to establish the alleged comments, no declaration from counsel, and the content of the statements do not, as claimed by Respondent, amount to an unequivocal oral ruling in Respondent’s favor, but rather appear advisory or cautionary with respect to some indefinite period in the future.  This interpretation is entirely consistent with the actual Tentative Statement of Decision and the Supplemental Order in that the former expressly denied Respondent’s request to downwardly modify or terminate supplemental overtime earnings support, while the latter addresses only those remaining issues as indicated in the Court’s minute order from the hearing.  (See, e.g., Earp v. Earp (1991) 231 Cal.App.3d 1008, 1012 [even where issues bifurcated or reserved for later decision, timely request for SOD on litigated issues must be made or else waived].)

 But beyond this, Respondent’s request for a further hearing or trial on the issues, or that the Court issue an alternative or further statement of decision, entirely neglects that the judge presiding over the long-cause bench trial at issue has retired and is no longer an active judge of the Court. It is therefore jurisdictionally impossible to accede to Respondent’s request.  (Code Civ. Proc. § 635; Armstrong v. Picquelle (1984) 157 Cal.App.3d 122; Swift v. Daniels (1980) 103 Cal.App.3d 263; cf., Western Sierra, Inc. v. Ramos (1979) 97 Cal.App.3d 482 [retired judge only able post-retirement to hear pending case through reappointment by the Chief Justice for that limited purpose]; David v. Goodman (1952) 114 Cal.App.2d 571 [trial de novo mandatory where judge who heard evidence passed away without findings; successor judge lacked power to decide the matter]; Blumenthal v. Superior Court (2006) 137 Cal.App.4th 672, 681 [family law trial should be completed by judge who heard evidence from the beginning].)  That said, as with all matters of long-term spousal support, nothing prohibits Respondent from attempting to modify or terminate support in the future, provided that a material change of circumstance is demonstrated.