Requesting a Statement of Decision: How, When & Why
Stephen D. Hamilton
Stephen D. Hamilton has been an attorney for 22 years, with a practice devoted almost exclusively to family law for 20 of those years. He has been a Certified Specialist in Family Law since 2004. He is a member of ACFLS and serves on the ACFLS Outreach Committee. He is also the chairperson of the San Luis Obispo County Family Law Section, and is currently a member of the California Family Law Executive Committee and Assistant Editor of the Family Law News.
The necessity of obtaining a statement of decision was impressed upon me early in my family law career. My client had been given an adverse ruling that was ripe for appellate consideration. I consulted with an appellate specialist, who emphasized the importance of obtaining a statement of decision. Given the strict procedural rules that apply to statements of decision, waiting until the conclusion of a trial or hearing to request one can be too late. I therefore concluded that addressing (and requesting) a statement of decision had to become part of my pre-trial routine and preparation.