News from the Alameda County Superior Court:

An amended Settlement Conference Referral Form is now in effect

Find the amended Settlement Conference Referral form here

The changes are as follows:

  1. The Judicial Officer can inquire of counsel, and if he/she finds that the parties possess all necessary information to settle all issues of the case, the Court can refer the matter to D-504 for a settlement conference without discovery/expert work being complete.
  2. One question was added, asking if either party has a DVRO against the other.
  3. Currently, over 60% of D-504 cases are being continued.  This will create a huge backlog for cases waiting to be referred.  To ensure proper caseload management, the following was added below the settlement conference date in the amended referral form: “CONTINUANCES WILL BE GRANTED IN EXTREME CIRCUMSTANCES ONLY.” Commencing June 1, 2019, most continuance requests will be denied absent extreme circumstances.    

*Please note that only the Home Court can file/submit the referral form and order the matter to D-504. 

To ensure a productive and beneficial settlement conference, I encourage Counsel to:

  1. Ensure you have all the information necessary to settle the case, including value, cash flow, income/income imputation, tracing, etc… Please bring with you all documents/exhibits that support your position.
  2. Select a settlement conference date when you are certain of your and your client’s availability all day. 
  3. Prior to the settlement conference, meet with you client to discuss all values, settlement options, best case scenario and bottom line. 
  4. After meeting with your client, but prior to the settlement conference, set up a time to confer with opposing counsel and make best effort to resolve as many issues as possible, especially the small ones (personal items, furniture, bank accounts at DOS, cars, known separate property, etc… If there is an agreement, circulate a written stipulation regarding these issues.

Questions? Email Valerie Lescroart, ACBA Communications Director at valerie@acbanet.org and we’ll pass them along to the court.