So your case is on file, your now less-significant other has answered, and you need something.  You need spousal support, child support, division of the assets, etc.  If your case is not on file, go here and see what needs to be done.  This group of forms is what needs to be filled out, filed and served on the other party.  They are complicated, so often people show up at the file clerk windows again and again trying to get them right.  You can also hire a paralegal or an attorney.

In a normal court case this is called a “motion”.  Family law is “form-driven” meaning the judicial council, in their infinite wisdom, has promulgated a multitude of mind-numbingly confusing and at times helpful “forms” which are almost always required and nowhere explained in any adequate detail for a layperson.  They have various lines and boxes, some of them which make sense, some of them which line up, and some of them which simply do not.

One of the new “improved” versions is the “request for order” FL-300 which, as far as these forms go, isn’t a bad one.  It lays out in fairly simple form who, what, where, when and why.  That being said, it still represents a challenge for the in pro per.  One important thing about this form: if you don’t ask for it, you won’t get it.  Period.  So make certain you are at least in the ballpark of asking for the kind of relief you want.

If you are asking for spousal support, check the box.  If child support, check the box.  Asking for attorney fees?  Check the box.  Want an order about custody?  Check the box.   When finished with the entire form, write out a declaration (we will discuss that later) and if you need to, get a dissomaster calculation from the family law facilitator or a paralegal or attorney (also discussed later).

When you have that, you can file it with the clerk, who will give you a court date.  That is what goes in section 2.  People are often confused about that section.  Don’t be.  Just leave it blank and the clerk will fill it in.  You should also file an Income and Expense Declaration.  More about that later as well!

The bottom of the form below the line that says “court order” is to be left blank.  The rest of the form provides various options which you will need to work through as best you can.  Again, the important thing is to ask for what you want.  If you don’t ask for it, the issue will not be before the court and they won’t rule on it.

The court date will be preceded by a mediation date if the case involves  custody.  This is incredibly important, and the subject of, yes, a later discussion.