6. 6 case management in actions involving self-represented parties a. Policy and Effective Date




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6.6 CASE MANAGEMENT IN ACTIONS INVOLVING SELF-REPRESENTED PARTIES
A. Policy and Effective Date. It is the policy of the Marin County Superior Court to manage all family law cases involving one or more self-represented parties in order to expedite the resolution of the case, reduce the cost of litigation, and focus on early settlement. These rules relating to the administration of family law actions involving self-represented litigants apply to all actions for dissolution, nullity, legal separation of spouses in a marriage or partners in a domestic partnership, actions to establish parental relationship, and such other cases assigned to the program by the Supervising Family Law Judge filed after January 1, 2006.

B. Definition. The term "self-represented litigant/party" means a party representing himself or herself without an attorney

C. Firm Dates: It is the policy of the court that once any date has been set, it cannot be changed without a showing of good cause. However the court allows the parties one stipulated continuance of the Case Management Conference up to 120 days.

D. Parties in Alternative Dispute Resolution. If the parties are participating in mediation, collaboration, or other alternative dispute resolution at the time of the first Case Management Conference and wish to continue settlement efforts before coming to court, they may file a stipulation informing the court and requesting a continuance of the first Case Management Conference for a period up to 120 days. The form of Stipulation is available from the Clerk of the court.

E. Forms to be Issued by Clerk upon Filing of Petition. Upon the filing of a Petition for Nullity, Dissolution, Legal Separation, or to Establish Parental Relationship, the petitioner shall receive the following from the clerk:

1. Notice of Case Management Conference with the following information:

a. The name of the assigned judge;

b. The date of the Status Conference regarding service of Petition. This date will be 45 days after the filing of the Petition;

c. The date of the Status Conference regarding filing of the Response or Default. This date will be set 90 days after the filing of the Petition;

d. The date of the Order to Show Cause regarding service of the Declarations of Disclosure. This date will be set 110 days after the filing of the Petition;

e. The date of the First Case Management Conference. This date will be set 120 days after the filing date of the original Petition.

2. Blank Case Management Conference Questionnaire - Appendix I.

3. Family Law Alternative Dispute Resolution information form.

4. Notice to Parties regarding Tentative Rulings - Appendix E.

5. Information sheet regarding Family Court Services Mediation Program.

6. Stipulation to Continue Case Management Conference (Alternative Dispute Resolution) - Appendix J.

F. Cases Transferred From Other Jurisdictions. If a case is transferred from another jurisdiction after a Response has been filed, the first Case Management Conference shall be set within 45 days from the filing of the action in this court. If no Response has been filed, the first Case Management Conference shall be set within 90 days from the order of transfer. The Petitioner in a transferred case shall receive from the clerk the same information packet described in section 6.

G. Service of Summons and Petition--Forms to be Served on Other Party. The Petitioner shall serve the following documents on the opposing party:

1. Summons, Petition, and your completed Declaration Under Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Act form;

2. A Notice of Case Management Conference;

3. Blank Case Management Conference Questionnaire - Appendix I;

4. Family law Alternative Dispute Resolution information form;

5. Notice to Parties regarding Tentative Rulings - Appendix E;

6. Information sheet regarding Family Court Services Mediation Program;

7. Blank Declaration Under Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Act form;

8. Blank Response;

9. Stipulation to Continue Case Management Conference (Alternative Dispute Resolution) - Appendix J.

H. Status Conference Regarding Service.

1. If a Petitioner fails to serve the petition and file a Proof of Service within 45 days of filing of the Petition, Petitioner shall appear at the Status Conference regarding service. If, however, the proof of service is filed 5 days before the hearing, no appearance is necessary.

2. If the Respondent fails to file and serve a response and no default has been taken within 90 days of the initial filing of the Petition, both parties shall attend the Status Conference regarding service of the Response. If, however, the Response or Notice of Entry of Default is filed 5 days before the hearing, no appearance is necessary.

3. Either party's failure to serve and file their Declarations of Disclosure within 110 days of filing of the Petition will result in an Order to Show Cause being issued as to why the party shall not be sanctioned for failure to comply with this rule. If, however, each party has served their Declarations of Disclosure and each party’s Declarations Regarding Service of the Declaration of Disclosure is filed 5 days before the hearing, no appearance is necessary.

I. Case Management Conferences.

1. Calendar. The First Case Management Conference shall be set 120 days after the filing of the Petition unless a judgment resolving all issues has been entered before that time.

2. Service of Case Management Questionnaire. Each party must file and serve a Case Management Conference Questionnaire at least 5 court days prior to the Case Management Conference.

3. Purpose. At the initial Case Management Conference, the court will review the status of the case, discovery plans, settlement options, alternative dispute resolution, and unresolved issues. At this or any Case Management Conference, the court may:

a. Set a settlement conference;

b. Set or reset the time of trials, settlement conferences, or hearings;

c. Limit, schedule, or discuss discovery;

d. Schedule disclosure of expert witnesses;

e. Bifurcate issues for trial;

f. Appoint court experts upon stipulation and allocate the expenses for the appointments, or schedule a hearing for appointments of court experts and the allocation of the expenses for the experts;

g. Appoint an attorney for a minor child;

h. Refer appropriate cases to some form of Alternative Dispute Resolution;

i. Require filing of preliminary stipulations, if issues can be narrowed;

j. Make special references in accordance with the law;

k. Review case management options under Family Code section 2451 with self-represented parties;

l. Take such other actions as permitted by law which would tend to promote a just and efficient disposition of the case;

m. Schedule further Case Management Conferences as needed in the case;

n. Order the parties to participate in an early neutral evaluation concerning their case; and/or

o. Refer the parties to Family Court Services for custody and visitation mediation;

p. Enter judgment. [Adopted effective 1/1/06]


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