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When To File California Divorce Request For Trial Setting FAM-014

There are only 2 ways your California divorce will finalize. You either come to an agreement with your spouse and submit a stipulated (Agreed upon) divorce or you go to trial.

To come to an agreement without trial can be as simple as doing your own divorce, using a third party divorce document preparation service like ours or mediation to obtain assistance with coming to an agreement.

However if you are unable to come to an agreement, then your only option is to go to trial. But, to go to trial takes several steps and the first step is to file the Request For Trial Setting.

But the questions is, “when should you file the Request For Trial Setting”?

In my opinion the second you know you are not going to be able to ever come to an agreement you should file the request for trial setting FAM-014.

Let me give you an example.

I have a client who was served divorce papers. He came to us for assistance with filing his Response. Now, whether we are mediating the case and assisting both parties or not, the first thing I ask people is if there is a chance that they will come to an agreement.

If the answer is “Yes” then we work to assist both parties in working towards an agreement. If the answer is “no” then we will usually recommend that the request for trial setting be filed at the same time as the Response.

Here is the rationale. When you file for divorce, the next step is for the Respondent to file a Response within the 30 days. (this is not always necessary if in agreement – call me for questions on how we save you money on court fees). Once you file the Response, guess what the court does? Nothing! So all you have is a Petition filed for divorce and a Response filed.

People think at this point that the court is going to get involved and start helping them by setting hearings on their own. While some courts in California do have some hearings they will set, most do not.

So what happens is, is your case just sits with the court with no court involvement until you ask them to. This is what the request for trial setting does. It is basically you telling the court that you cannot come to an agreement and you need to get into the court system to start moving your way towards trial.

There are several steps prior to you actually going to trial, and it is very likely you will come to an agreement in some other way, other than trial, but to file the request for trial setting is the first step to get you there.

Tim Blankenship – who has written posts on Divorce 661.