February 20, 2017

Family Law Tentative Ruling Announcements

If the Tentative Ruling in your case is satisfactory, you need not appear at the scheduled time, the ruling becomes final, and the prevailing party prepares the order.

However, if you are not satisfied with the Tentative Ruling, and wish to appear and argue the matter, YOU MUST NOTIFY the Clerk’s office and opposing counsel of your intent before 4:00 p.m. TODAY.

When doing so, you must indicate as to which issue(s) and/or motion(s) a hearing is being requested. If requesting a hearing for clarification of tentative ruling, specify what matter(s) and/or issue(s) need clarification.

You may request a hearing by calling: (209) 530-3107 prior to 4 p.m. - OR- by e-mailing at FAMLAW.TENTATIVES@stanct.org. Email requests must be made prior to 4pm AND confirmed by return e-mail. If you do not receive confirmation e-mail from the clerk, you MUST call (209) 530-3107 to request your hearing.

Date: February 21, 2017

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


Respondent’s Request for Order re Set Aside Default, etc.—HEARING REQUIRED.

Respondent’s proof of service indicates Petitioner was served by mail when personal service is required.  (Cal. Rules of Ct., rules 5.151(b)(3), 5.167(b), 5.92(f)(1).)  Accordingly, Respondent must appear and demonstrate that Petitioner has received actual notice of the motion, absent Petitioner’s personal appearance.  If so, the Court is inclined to set aside the default pursuant to Cal. Civ. Proc. §473(b) on the basis of mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect.  While Respondent’s purported mistake of law results from ordinary neglect and, thus, does not support relief (See, e.g., A & S Air Conditioning v Moore Co. (1960) 184 Cal.App.2d 617, 620), Petitioner’s request for entry of default sought to excuse her failure to attach the required disclosure documents on the basis of a prior filing, signed under penalty of perjury, when in fact there were none.  The only excuse for not including these is where the petition contains no request for support, costs, attorney’s fees or property.  (Cal. Rules of Ct., rule 5.402(a).)  Here, the petition requested both support and property.  A default judgment entered when the disclosure requirements have not been satisfied renders the judgment subject to set aside.  (Fam. C. §2107(d), 2122(f); cf., Marriage of Steiner & Hosseini (2004) 117 Cal.App.4th 519, 525-528.)  Because the law favors disposing of cases on their merits, any doubts in applying Cal. Civ. Proc. §473 must be resolved in favor of the party seeking relief from default.  (Rappleyea v. Campbell (1994) 8 Cal.4th 975.) 

Regarding Respondent’s requests for child custody, visitation and genetic testing, these are pre-mature until Respondent’s default has been set aside and his response filed.  Respondent is further cautioned that biological paternity is not the sole, nor even the most important, factor in determining fatherhood.  He is subject to a strong presumption of paternity based on the child’s birth during marriage (Fam. C. §7540) that may be rebutted by genetic tests performed within two (2) years of the child’s birth, but no later (Fam. C. §7541).  Cases have also held that testing is inappropriate if there is only one presumed father and no other “candidate” for paternity, where the result of a negative paternity finding would essentially leave the child fatherless. (In re Nicholas H. (2002) 28 C4th 56, 70; In re J.O. (2009) 178 Cal.App.4th 139.) 

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 D Department #14:


The following are the tentative ruling cases calendared before Judge Loretta Murphy Begen in Department #25:

8003787 - DAGUE VS DAGUE

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

Respondent must appear and demonstrate valid service, absent Petitioner’s personal appearance.  (Stan. Cnty. Local Rules, rule 7.11.)  If so, Respondent must provide proof of her reasonable diligence in communicating with the document service office prior to entry of default.  Alternatively, Petitioner must establish the existence, or Respondent the non-existence, of a “written agreement” excusing the absence of required disclosures at the time default was requested.