In an effort to provide more courtroom time for complex family law matters, the Los Angeles Superior Court has been increasing the number of family law long cause courtrooms in the county. Effective Jan. 2, 2018, Dept. F at the Santa Monica Courthouse will become the newest long cause trial/settlement family law court.

This change will provide a benefit to local families with complicated family law cases who will no longer have to travel to downtown Los Angeles for multi-day hearings and trials, as is the current practice. It also allows the Court to utilize its resources more effectively.

Unlike courtrooms that have a variety of hearing types on calendar each day, including motions, conferences, order to show cause hearings, and trials – long cause courtrooms handle a single hearing or trial daily.

As of Nov. 1, 2017, the Santa Monica Courthouse will no longer accept new filings for divorce and paternity cases – family law matters from the West District will be filed at the Stanley Mosk Courthouse in downtown Los Angeles. Pending Santa Monica cases with hearing dates on or after Jan. 2, 2018, will be transferred to the Mosk Courthouse for further action. Petitions for domestic violence and civil harassment restraining orders will continue to be accepted and heard in Santa Monica.

The Self Help Center and Restraining Order Clinic located at the Santa Monica Courthouse will remain open.

Due to the tremendous family law caseload, calendar courtrooms can schedule only a limited number of hours per day for trials and complex hearings. This necessitates some matters being heard over several days or weeks, and frequently not on consecutive days. In a long cause courtroom, the matter is heard daily until completed.

By adding this new long cause department, the Court will be able to reduce the number of days parties are required to come to court in order to complete trials and complex hearings. This reduction will provide financial and emotional benefits to the parties and free up court resources to handle additional matters.

Presiding Judge Daniel J. Buckley said of the change in Santa Monica, “Recognizing the important work of the family law division – protecting victims of domestic violence, assuring appropriate child custody orders, and providing orders for support and division of property – is of the upmost concern to the Court and making these changes increases our ability to have cases heard promptly, assuring meaningful access to justice.”

With the addition of a long cause courtroom in Santa Monica (West District), the Court will have long cause departments across the county. There are currently three family law long cause courtrooms in the Stanley Mosk Courthouse (Central District), and one in each of the Governor George Deukmejian Long Beach (South District), Pomona (East District), and Van Nuys (Northwest District) courthouses.


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