Do Sacramento Family Courts Use Case Law From Other States?

by | Oct 25, 2013 | Firm News |

If you are currently involved in a Sacramento county family law case, you may discovered a case from a sister state that you think would help your case in Sacrament court.  However, despite your excitement over an out-of-state case, in general, Sacramento County judges are bound to use and apply California law first.  The primary authority for Sacramento County judges is the California Family Code.  The family code details how the Sacramento court is permitted to rule in divorce, child custody, support, and property division cases. 

The Sacramento family court is also bound by case law issued from the California Supreme Court and the California Appeals Courts.  These decisions deal with situations where the court has been forced to apply the Family Code to confusing or ambiguous issues.  These courts’ opinions in similar cases can be applied to the facts of your case and that’s why the Sacramento County judge will use them.

In rare situations, when there are no applicable Family Code statutes, and there is also no California court decision on point, the court will look to outside legal authority from other states or the Federal courts.  Sacramento County judges hesitate to reach out to foreign jurisdictions for legal guidance out of fear of ignoring or missing an applicable California family law.  No judge wants to have their decision appealed and reversed by the appeals court or the California Supreme Court because they applied the wrong law.

If you are involved in a Sacramento County divorce or family law case and believe you have a unique issue of law, please give us a call.  We can help you understand the Sacramento County divorce process and advise you of your legal rights in a free half-hour attorney consultation.