What is an Initial Status Conference in California?
Most of our clients never have to see the inside of a courtroom. And that's our goal. But on occasion, you will receive a mailed notice from a local county court requiring you to "appear" in court for a scheduled Status Conference (SC) or Case Resolution Conference (CRC). First off, don't panic!
SCs and CRCs are designed to help you and your spouse move toward finalizing your divorce. No legal issues are usually addressed. Rather, the court wants to see if they can do anything to help move your case along.
What to expect with a Status Conference or Case Resolution Conference
Your "appearance" may be scheduled to occur in person or via telephone. Here is what you can expect.
Status conference (SC)
California's Rule of Court 5.83 states that "Status Conference" refers to court events scheduled with the parties and attorneys to identify the current status of the case and to determine the next steps required to reach disposition.
In other words, your judge wants to make sure the correct paperwork has (or will be) filed. And, they want to know that you and your spouse are working toward an agreement.
If you are a Hello Divorce client and have completed Step 1 (Petition) and Step 2 (Financial Disclosures), you are good to go. If you haven't completed Step 2, tell the judge when you expect to get it done. They may ask whether you have an agreement. If you don't, they may provide you with resources or an option for a "settlement conference" to help you get there.
If you are working together outside of court or working with one of our mediators, just let the judge know.
At the conclusion of the SC, the judge may send you on your way and tell you to submit your judgment (Step 3) when you are done. Or, they may set another Status Conference down the road just to make sure you've completed your divorce.
Tip: Some local (county) courts have a Status Conference or Case Resolution Conference form you must complete and file before your court date. If you aren't sure, just ask us!
Case Resolution Conference (CRC)
A CRC is similar to an SC. The judge is trying to determine how close you are to dotting your i's and crossing your t's (i.e., finalizing your divorce).
Judges are often more hands-on with CRCs, creating an actual plan for you to reach a settlement. If you're curious about the purpose of a CRC and want to learn more, check out Family Code section 2451.
However, the most important thing to know is that you need not be afraid. Although a CRC is an inconvenience, it's not something you must extensively prepare for. Just be ready to share with the judge the status of your divorce.
Related: How to Prepare for Online Court
Unless your case is highly contentious or complicated, expect your SC to be relatively straightforward and more of a formality. The more you have completed of Steps 1, 2, and 3, the less likely you will have to attend court again.
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