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San Jose Divorce Lawyer Discusses Santa Clara County Issues New Local Rule on Tentative Rulings

San Jose Divorce Lawyer Discusses Santa Clara County Issues New Local Rule on Tentative Rulings

It’s a new year, and that means new rules in many county courts. Santa Clara County has implemented a new local rule regarding tentative rulings in family law matters.

What are tentative rulings? Tentative rulings are a fancy legal term for when the judge reviews the file ahead of time, and based on the pleadings that each party has submitted, issues a memo about how the judge would rule on the issues as presented in the pleadings. This is not set in stone, but its designed to give litigants an idea of what the judge is thinking so they can decide if the judge misunderstood something, or if additional information would change the judge’s mind, or if they like the ruling. Importantly, tentative rulings are only applicable to cases where both parties are represented by attorneys. Additionally, many judges limit the topics appropriate for tentative rulings to matters of support and financial issues, rather than custody and visitation. However, potentially any matter can be subject to a tentative ruling, so it is key to remember to check these rulings pursuant to the local rule.

What is the new rule? Previously, in Santa Clara County, judges handed out these tentative rulings the day of the hearing and let litigants decide then if they liked them or wished for the court to hear further argument or facts on an issue. Now, judges will issue the tentative rulings the day before, and at 3 p.m. these rulings will be available via a phone call to the court and sometimes on the court’s website. Attorneys then have one hour to notify the court and opposing counsel of an intention to contest a tentative ruling and request argument on it the next day.

What does this mean for me? It means you may not have to go to court. Suppose at 3:05 the day before your hearing, your attorney (our office) calls the court and finds out the judge thinks we are right. We will not request argument, and if opposing counsel agrees with the proposed ruling, they won’t request argument, and the tentative ruling becomes the order of the court, no court appearances necessary.

Here at Sagaria Law, we offer a full range of family law legal services, from divorce and property disputes to custody and visitation matters. We handle all types of family law actions, including adoptions, guardianships, parentage, dissolution and support. We have five Northern California locations including San Jose, Redwood City, Fremont, Salinas and Sacramento. We offer a free thirty minute consultation, either in person at any of our offices, or over the phone. Call our offices today to schedule your free consultation with one of our family law attorneys: (408) 279-2288 or (800) 941-6730 or visit