Welcome to FreeDivorce.com.
Christina: This is Christina.
Ed: This is Ed. Today, are going to talk about local court rules and the problems local court rules can create.
Christina: Ed, what laws apply to California courts?
Ed: First, you have state laws, which are called statutes. Statues are grouped into different codes. We have dozens of codes, such as the Code of Civil Procedure, the Probate Code, the Criminal Code, etc. When it comes to divorces, most of the relevant statutes can be found in what is called the Family Code. The statutes in these state codes apply to all California state courts.
Christina: What is the difference between state statutes and Rules of Court?
Ed: State statutes are created by the California legislature. Rules of court are not. We have two main Rules of Court. First, we have the California Rules of Court that were created by the California Judicial Council. The Judicial Council is the rule-making arm of the California Court system. This is the same entity that creates all the court forms. The California Rules of Court adopted by the Judicial Council apply to all state courts in California. The California Rules of Court cover a wide range of topics and procedures. Some of the California Rules of Court apply to divorce proceedings. If you ever want to read the California Rules of Court, you can Google “California Judicial Council” and you will be able to find all the rules on the Judicial Council’s website.
Christina: Are local rules of a court different than the Judicial Council’s Rules of Court?
Ed: Yes. There are 58 counties in California. Each county has local rules and local procedures that apply just to that county. Every county is like a mini kingdom, with its own local rules and local ways of processing divorce cases. This creates a problem when we are trying to explain on our website how to do your own divorce because some people using our website will be in San Diego county, some will be San Joaquin County, some will be in Mendocino County. Each of those counties is going to have different local court rules. The local rules and procedures constantly change. Local court rules can be hundreds of pages long. It is impossible even for lawyers to keep up with all the changes to the local court rules for all of the counties. Many divorce lawyers limit their practice to one or two counties because it is difficult to keep up with the local rules for more than one or two counties.
Christina: Does the FreeDivoce.com website cover all of the local rules?
Ed: No. We cannot explain and constantly update all of the local rules and procedures that are unique to each of the 58 counties. If you want to read the local rules for your county, you can go to the website for the Superior Court in your county. There you will find the local rules for your county. You can read the family law local rules for your county. If you do, you will likely find them to be confusing and, for the vast majority of cases, it is not necessary for you to read the local court rules.
Christina: If the local rules are different for each county, does that mean I may run into a problem processing my divorce because of local rules that are unique to my county?
Ed: You may run into a problem with a local court rule, but if you do, it typically won’t be a big issue. Again, we have set forth in our website a description of how to do your own divorce, following procedures that are generally accepted throughout the State of California. If your county has a local rule that requires you to fill out an extra form, submit additional copies, or follow some other procedure that is unique to your county, don’t worry. When this happens, the court will let you know what you need to do to comply with their local rules.
Christina: We want feedback from the community. Tell us about any problems you experience with the local rules and procedures for your particular county. We will try to take that information and organize it by county so people that use this site in the future can see information from the community about their county’s local procedures. To send us your feedback, see the “Support Our Mission” section of our website. You can find this by going to the home page, then hover over the “Featured Topic” entitled, “About Us”. Then, click on the sub-topic entitled, “Support our Mission”.