What is a Status Conference Date? (October 2013)

In Santa Cruz County, the Family Law Court provides status conference court dates six months and a day from the date of serving the Petition. This does not mean that you have to complete your divorce on that date, nor will you automatically be divorced then. There are many things that need to happen before the court will grant your divorce. This six month date is best looked at as a ‘check in’ by the court, and the first date that you could finalize your divorce, assuming you have completed all aspects by then. Many people will agree to ‘continue’ their status conference date 2 weeks prior by filing a status conference statement (http://www.santacruzcourt.org/self-help). If you are mediation, you can inform the court of your progress and ask for a new status conference date to check in again. If you do not file this statement in time, you may have to go into court on the date of the status conference hearing and ask the judge to continue the date in person. This can be a long morning of waiting, so we always encourage people to continue the date prior and save themselves the time and trouble of having to go into court on that date. In Santa Cruz County, our Family Law Court has started to encourage people to move along with their divorces as efficiently as possible. While this means that you can continue your status conference date, you will be encouraged to move along and may not be granted endless continuances.

Anyone getting a divorce in Santa Cruz County, whether in mediation or litigation, whether the case is simple or complicated, will have a status conference date. Only folks going into litigation will have a motion for a proper court hearing for a Judge to make a decision for you, or typically called an Order to Show Cause. An Order to Show Cause is when one party brings a motion to the court asking for the Judge to hear a specific matter. Even if one party has filed a motion and you have a court date for the Judge to hear it, you two can always agree to delay the court date while you are working on mediating an agreement outside of court. The moving party must take the steps to continue a motion they have brought.

Whether you have a motion or a Status Conference date, it is important to continue the date at least two weeks in advance if you are hoping not to have to attend.

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