Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Getting Help Finishing Your Divorce

The One Day Divorce Program assists parties with divorce cases before Sacramento Superior Court to finish the case and get a final judgment. Volunteer attorneys and law students assist eligible parties in finalizing an agreement and preparing all of the necessary forms to obtain the final Judgment. Parties who successfully complete the process will go before a judge the same day and will leave court with a final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage.

Who Can Participate?

The One Day Divorce Program is for self-represented litigants who have filed a dissolution of marriage (divorce) case in Sacramento County and are ready for judgment. Your case is ready for judgment if you can answer Yes to all of the following three questions:

  1. Has the summons and petition been served on Respondent?
  2. Has a Proof of Service of Summons OR a Response been filed with the Court?
  3. Have you and your spouse reached an agreement on all orders that will be included in your judgment, including division of property and debts, spousal support, and if you have children, a parenting plan and child support? (this is not a requirement if you are the petitioner, your spouse has not filed a response AND he or she does not intend to participate in the clinic.)

Caution! If you or your spouse has retirement benefits that were earned during the marriage, you will not be able to complete your judgment unless the retirement benefits are listed in your Petition and/or Response.

If you are the Respondent, you may not participate in the program without the Petitioner.

How Can I Sign Up?

First, check your monthly household income against this chart to determine if you qualify for the program (if both spouses will attend the clinic, you must both meet the income guidelines):

Number of
Household
Members
Monthly Income Limit
1-2 $2,608.00
3 $3,067.00
4 $3,700.00
5 $4,333.00
6 $4,967.00
Each additional $633.00

If you meet the requirements above, please contact us through e-Correspondence to request an appointment. Clinics are held on the second and third Fridays of each month beginning at 9:00 a.m. and continuing until your judgment has been entered. In some cases, participants are able to complete the process by noon, but you should be prepared to spend the entire day at the courthouse. Participation is by appointment only.

Information for Volunteers

The Sacramento Superior Court relies on volunteers to make the One Day Divorce Program a success. Thank you for your interest in helping us to help the people of Sacramento County. The Program relies on both attorney and law student volunteers, as follows:

Law Students

Law students play a vital role in the One Day Divorce Program as "form assistants." At the start of each clinic, forms assistants meet with litigants and gather intake data. Once the litigants have met with the Judge Pro Tem, form assistants type the forms necessary to complete the Judgment. Form assistants are encouraged to observe the meetings between the litigants and the Judge Pro Tem. Once the judgment and related documents have been approved by the Judge Pro Tem, the form assistants accompany the litigants to the courtroom for entry of Judgment.

Law student volunteers are coordinated through the participating law schools. At this time McGeorge School of Law and Lincoln Law Schools are participating in the program. If you are a law student and wish to participate in the One Day Divorce Program, please contact the coordinator at your law school.

Attorneys

Attorneys who are approved to serve as Judges Pro Tem for the Sacramento Superior Court assist in the One Day Divorce Program in much the same way as is done in our settlement conference program. In addition to assisting the parties in reaching settlement, the Judges Pro Tem also instruct the forms assistants in the preparation of the required judgment forms. Once the forms are prepared, the Judges Pro Tem review and approve them before sending the parties to the courtroom for entry of judgment.

Attorneys who are not Judges Pro Tem for Sacramento Superior Court may still participate in the One Day Divorce Program in the role of forms assistants. The role of the form assistant is described above under Law Students.

Attorneys who wish to participate in the One Day Divorce Program, either as Judges Pro Tem or as form assistants, contact us at OneDayDivorce@saccourt.ca.gov.

If you are interested in becoming a Judge Pro Tem, please visit our Temporary Judge Program web page for more information and an application.