On August 23, 2023, Bednarczyk & Valerio, LLP partner Ania Bednarczyk co-presented a class for family law trial lawyers and appellate attorneys with Attorney Michelene Insalaco, on the complicated topic of preparing Statements of Decision after trial. This presentation for the Bar Association of San Francisco followed the original talk Ania co-presented to the Alameda County Bar Association on the same issue earlier in the year. The presentation was so well-received that Ania and Michelene are anticipated to give the presentation to a number of organizations in the legal community.
Here are some of the talking points from the presentation:
California law does not require courts to issue written findings of fact and conclusions of law after a trial. The only way the parties can find out the court’s reasoning on the “principal controverted issues” is by requesting a “Statement of Decision.” The Statement of Decision process is governed by the California Code of Civil Procedure § 632 and is used in matters where there has been a trial regarding factual issues. It requires the judge to specify in a written opinion (or orally on the record), why they ruled the way they did on each question of fact. Ultimately, a Statement of Decision can be used to identify flaws in the trial court’s decision and it can be crucial if an appeal of that order is filed by either party.
There is only a limited amount of time to request a Statement of Decision, and the rules are different depending on the length of the trial. There are strategic considerations to take into account depending on whether the statement of decision is in the client’s favor, which can impact the client’s success if the trial order is appealed.
Statements of Decision are complex and this device should be used strategically. A skillful family law trial attorney can advise you regarding whether a Statement of Decision should be requested in your case, what if any objections should be made, and assist you with preparing one. Located in Walnut Creek, Bednarczyk & Valerio, LLP offers knowledgeable representation to clients in California for a wide variety of divorce and family law matters. Call 925-464-2494 or contact us online to schedule a consultation to learn how we can help.