April 18, 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: April 18, 2019                          

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

FL-19-000655—VEGA VS VEGA

Petitioner’s Request for Order re “Legal Abandonment”—DENIED, without prejudice.

There is no authority for the Court to decree “legal abandoned papers” in a dissolution action by one spouse against the other.  It appears that Petitioner needs legal evidence of status termination for purposes of her pension.  This may be accomplished by a motion to bifurcate for early marital status termination, but this cannot be heard until at least six (6) months after the Respondent’s appearance or time to appear; additionally, it requires that all pension plans be joined, which Petitioner has not done.  Alternatively, Petitioner may qualify for a summary dissolution proceeding.  Finally, based on Petitioner’s declaration, she may be able to claim nullity based on fraud, and amend the Petition to plead this in the alternative.  The Court cannot provide legal advice and the choice of alternatives belongs to Petitioner alone.


Counsel for Respondent’s Motion to Be Relieved—GRANTED, conditionally.

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


Petitioner and Respondent’s Request for Order – APPEARANCE REQUIRED.

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


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


Petitioner’s request for order to reopen the petition for dissolution — GRANTED

A Petitioner is entitled to vacate the dismissal where she offers evidence that the dismissal occurred due to “her mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect.”  (Code Civ. Proc., § 473, subd. (b).)  While this is a matter that lies within the court’s discretion, “‘the provisions of section 473 of the Code of Civil Procedure are to be liberally construed and sound policy favors the determination of actions on their merits.’ "  (Zamora v. Clayborn Contracting Group, Inc. (2002) 28 Cal.4th 249, 256.)  Here, the Court mailed notice of the Order to Show Cause to the wrong address.  As such, the Court grants Petitioner’s request to reopen the petition for dissolution.


Request for Order for Change of Venue – DENIED

There is no Proof of Service on file as required by Local Rules of Court, rule 7.11, and California Rules of Court, rule 5.94(b).  Therefore, Respondent must demonstrate proper service at the hearing, or Petitioner must waive service by proceeding on the merits.  (Carlton v. Quint (2000) 77 Cal.App.4th 690, 697; Marriage of Falcone & Fyke (2008) 164 Cal.App.4th 814, 828-829; Hogoboom & King, Cal. Prac. Guide Family L. Ch. 5-D, § 5:350.)

On the merits, a request for change of venue is governed by Code of Civil Procedure section 397, subdivision (c), which provides that “[t]he court may, on motion, change the place of trial…[w]hen the convenience of witnesses and the ends of justice would be promoted by the change.”  Neither of these conditions is met in the instant case.  There appear to be no witnesses who would be inconvenienced or any ends of justice that would be promoted by a change of venue to Alameda.  The convenience of the parties, as opposed to their witnesses, is not a factor to be considered, absent illness or physical disability.  (Peiser v. Mettler (1958) 50 Cal.2d 594, 612.)  The court may consider inconvenience to the child, as a potential witness.  (Silva v. Superior Court of Los Angeles County (1981) 119 Cal.App.3d 301.)  However, the Court’s April 9, 2019 Findings and Orders After Hearing provides that the child shall be enrolled in school in Ripon.  Therefore, a change of venue to Alameda would not be more convenient for the child.  As such, Respondent’s Request for Change of Venue is denied. 

The Court finds an award of sanctions to Petitioner unwarranted.


Respondent’s Request for Order for Change of Venue—DENIED

Respondent’s Request for Name Change of Child—DENIED FOR LACK OF JURISDICTION

Service is proper.

Code of Civil Procedure section 397, subdivision (c), permits the court to grant a change of venue “[w]hen the convenience of witnesses and the ends of justice would be promoted by the change.”  Both of these conditions are not met in this case.  Therefore, the request is denied.

The request to change a child’s name likewise denied, as the court lacks jurisdiction to consider a name change in a custody and support case.  Only in cases of paternity or dissolution may the court address a request to change a child’s name.  Respondent must file a civil action in order to change the child’s name. 

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


Respondent’s Request for Order re Set Aside Default—APPEARANCE REQUIRED.

Respondent filed a timely motion to set aside his default and alleges appropriate grounds of fraud and mistake.  (Code Civ. Proc.  § 473(b).)  However, Respondent refers to an “attached agreement” in support of his allegation that Petitioner told him not to file a response, but there is no attachment.  Additionally, Petitioner’s declaration denies his allegations.  Consequently, the parties will need to appear and offer their evidence and testimony in order for the Court to make a decision.  Before the hearing, the parties shall meet and confer in an effort to resolve the dispute and it appears to the Court this matter may qualify for summary dissolution; the parties shall also exchange any documents they intend to use at the hearing for proof.  (Cal. Rules of Ct., rule 5.98.)