Family law in Del Mar is unique by the fact that most of the information provided by the litigants in open court is extremely private and intimate. Also, many of the valuable comments and orders made by the judge go either over the heads of, or unheard by, the parties. Couples appearing in family court may seek dissolution of their marriage, custody and visitation orders, a spousal/child support award, or a domestic violence restraining order. Due to the intimate nature of these topics, many litigants become emotional or distraught in open court and too often miss important instructions. Further, many parties have insufficient funds to obtain representation, so no divorce lawyer is present in court to gather the judge’s rulings and interpret court orders.
According to California State law, electronic recording devises are banned in most courtrooms, including family courtrooms. If a family law litigant in Del Mar wishes to obtain a record of what occurred during their hearing or trial, they must hire a court reporter. A court reporter’s services cost an average of $450 for a half day. This cost is exclusive of the price of the transcript of the proceeding which is dependent on the length of the hearing. For a full day hearing, a transcript can cost thousands of dollars. These charges are in addition to the mandatory filing fee of $435 for all divorce cases. Prior to recent budget cuts, court reporters were provided for the majority of family law matters. The litigants were only responsible for the cost of the transcript if they wanted a copy.
As Del Mar divorce attorneys know, having a record of a family law hearing can be extremely important. However, the parties must decide whether to spend significant amounts of money to hire a court reporter or have no record at all. Family law judges are extremely busy and can hear up to 40 cases per day. With such a hectic calendar many judges give their orders quickly and even write them in short hand on the order sheet. If the parties are not paying very close attention and cannot decipher the court’s writing, they may have no way of knowing what they are obligated to do.
In addition to being confused about what happened at their hearing, family law litigants may be unable to appeal a court’s order if no record was made. In family law, judges have wide discretion in many areas. Therefore, whether a decision is appealable may largely depend on the facts of the case presented at the hearing. Without a record of what facts were presented and how the judge relied upon them, it is extremely difficult for any party to succeed on appeal or even form a basis for an appeal.
Don't settle for less when determining your rights. Contact us if you are curious about the divorce process, the difference between legal separation and divorce, or would like to consult with an experienced divorce lawyer in Del Mar. Nancy J. Bickford is the only attorney in San Diego representing clients going through divorce, who is a Certified Family Law Specialist (CFLS) and who is actively licensed as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Don't settle for less when determining your rights. Call 858-793-8884 in Del Mar, Carmel Valley, North County or San Diego.