November 22, 2017
One Day Divorce Program


Getting Help Finishing Your Divorce

The One Day Divorce Program assists parties with divorce cases in San Mateo County Superior Court to finish the case and get a final judgment. Volunteer attorneys and law students assist eligible parties in finalizing an agreement and preparing all of the necessary forms to obtain the final Judgment. Parties who successfully complete the process will leave court with a final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage in place.

Who Can Participate?

The One Day Divorce Program is for self-represented litigants who have filed a dissolution of marriage (divorce) or legal separation case in San Mateo County and are ready for judgment. Your case is ready for judgment if you can answer Yes to all of the following three questions:

  1. Has the summons and petition been served on Respondent?
  2. Has a Proof of Service of Summons OR a Response been filed with the Court?
  3. have you and your spouse reached an agreement on all orders that will be included in your judgment, including division of property and debts, spousal support, and if you have children, a parenting plan and child support? OR no response has been filed and you have taken a default (or will be taking a default) against your spouse, the respondent.

Caution! If you or your spouse have retirement benefits that were earned during the marriage, you will not be able to complete your judgment unless the retirement benefits are listed in your Petition and/or Response.

If you are the Respondent, you may not participate in the program without the Petitioner.

How Can I Sign Up?

Please sign up online to request an appointment. Clinics are held on the third Friday of each month beginning at 1:30 p.m. and continuing until your judgment has been completed. In some cases, participants are able to complete the process by 3 p.m., but you should be prepared to stay until 4:30 p.m. at the courthouse. Participation is by appointment only.



Information for Volunteers

The San Mateo County Superior Court relies on volunteers to make the One Day Divorce Program a success. Thank you for your interest in helping us to help the people of San Mateo County. The Program relies on both attorney and law student volunteers, as follows:

Form Assistants

Form Assistants play a vital role in the One Day Divorce Program as "form assistants." At the start of each clinic, forms assistants meet with litigants and gather intake data. Once the litigants have met with the Judge Pro Tem, form assistants type the forms necessary to complete the Judgment. Form assistants are encouraged to observe the meetings between the litigants and the Judge Pro Tem. Once the judgment and related documents have been approved and signed by the Judge Pro Tem, the form assistants bring the judgment and related documents to the clerk's office for processing. Law student volunteers are coordinated through the participating law schools. At this time we are hoping to partner with Hastings, Stanford and Santa Clara Law Schools in the program. If you are a law student and wish to participate in the One Day Divorce Program, please contact the coordinator at your law school.

Attorneys

Attorneys who are approved to serve as Judges Pro Tem for the San Mateo County Superior Court assist in the One Day Divorce Program in much the same way as is done in our status conference program. In addition to assisting the parties in reaching settlement, the Judges Pro Tem also instruct the forms assistants in the preparation of the required judgment forms. Once the forms are prepared, the Judges Pro Tem review, approve and sign them before sending the documents to the clerk's office with the form assistants.

Attorneys who are not Judges Pro Tem for San Mateo County Superior Court may still participate in the One Day Divorce Program in the role of forms assistants. The role of the form assistant is described above under Law Students.

Attorneys who wish to participate in the One Day Divorce Program, either as Judges Pro Tem or as form assistants, please sign up under Attorney or Form Assistant below.