We are proud to offer our own “Self-Help Center”. Below please find a list of Judicial Council forms commonly used in Family Law cases, along with a brief explanation on how they are used.
Our general information is NOT legal advice, and should not be construed as such. Use the forms at your own risk.
This is the first document you file. It starts your case for divorce, legal separation, or annulment. It is not used for domestic partnerships. If you fail to check a box – including for instance a request for spousal support – you cannot obtain such relief later until and unless you amend the Petition. Whether or not you foresee hiring a lawyer, check the ‘request for attorney fees’ box.
All of the grounds for dissolving domestic partnerships are contained in this mandatory form. The comments set forth above apply equally.
This mandatory form is required wherever the parties have minor children together.
The summons must be served in order for a California Court to have jurisdiction over the other party in a dissolution, legal separation, annulment, or domestic partnership. It contains important information about Automatic Temporary Restraining Orders (ATRO’s), which bind you even if you don’t bother to read them. Read them on page 2.
Here is a sample proof of service to be used with any documents, court papers, or discovery that are to be filed and/or filed and served in family law proceedings. Be sure to have it signed by a third party.
This form is used in lieu of a proof of service where the other party is willing to receipt for the court filed documents without the necessity of formal service by a process server or third party. It is filled out and filed with the Court, along with the Proof of Service.
This is equivalent to the Petition for Dissolution/Legal Separation/Annulment. If you are served with a Petition for Legal Separation, you may convert the action into a divorce or annulment.
A Response to a partnership dissolution/legal separation/annulment has the same attributes as a Response to a marital dissolution.
The Appearance, Stipulations and Waivers form has several uses, but is required whenever you submit a Stipulated Judgment.
This form accompanies the preliminary and final declarations of disclosure forms. It is not filed with the Court but it is served upon the other party.
This is an critical form for getting your matter set for trial, whether as default or contested matter. It is like a Proof of Service for your Disclosures. Until it has been filed by both parties (or you if you have entered a default), the clerk’s office cannot set the case for further hearing.
This accompanies the preliminary and final declarations of disclosure. It is essential that you fill it out completely and accurately, and supply supporting documents. The exchange of these forms are proof you have satisfied your fiduciary duties. What’s contained or omitted in these forms can be the basis for set aside motions in future years.
While the Preliminary Declaration of Disclosure (PDD) must be exchanged in all cases before a judgment can issue (except by the other party against whom a Default has been entered), completing and exchanging the Final Declaration of Disclosure (FDD) is optional and may be waived.
The Income and Expense form is required to be filed in all California family law cases whenever money is being requested by or from either party. Read it carefully, fill it out accurately, and answer all the questions and provide all attachments. Page 3 gives you three important options in terms of what information you provide regarding living expenses. You do not need to answer income questions relating to new mates or cohabitants. Judges rely upon this document when deciding money issues. You need to file this when seeking any financial support or fees.
This document is part of your preliminary and final declaration of disclosure, and it is mandatory that it be filled out and exchanged even where a default has been entered against the other party.
This form must be executed and filed in all cases that are settled without trial; if it is not, the court clerk will likely reject your papers.
This is the actual Judgment rendered in all cases involving Marital Dissolution, Dissolution of Domestic Partnerships, Legal Separation or Annulment (Nullity of Marriage). It must be submitted together with a Stipulated Judgment or MSA or sets forth the Court’s rulings where there has been a trial.
This Notice accompanies the Judgment, and is mailed by the Court clerk to the parties.
This notice advises employers of the employee identity and the amounts that must be withheld from a paycheck per the court’s support order.
A petition to establish paternity must be used to establish parentage when children are born to unmarried parents. Even if you signed a voluntary declaration of paternity, or listed on the birth certificate as the father, a paternity Judgment is necessary to establish your parental rights – including your rights to custody and visitation.
This answers the Petition to Establish Parental Relations, and either admits or denies paternity. It must be served and filed within 30 days of service of the summons and petition to avoid a default judgment being entered.
This form is used to obtain the issuance of a judgment where paternity is not contested.
A Judgment of paternity has life changing consequences. Ignoring parental obligations of support may have criminal consequences. This document is proof that you were advised of your rights before admitting parenthood.
This is a formal appearance in the action which admits paternity and may set child support.
This Judgment operates to conclusively establish your parental rights and obligations.
This form is used to respond to the Petition. It only covers custody and support.
If you wish to contest a default Judgment of Paternity, a regular Judgment, or a Voluntary Declaration of Paternity with the aim of setting these aside, this is the required form. However, there are specific time limits on how long you have to change your mind or challenge a paternity judgment which you should review first. These are described to some extent in the FL-274.
This is information that you are required to have before filing a Paternity Set Aside Motion. You are well advised to seek legal advice on how to do this properly and when to file. The other parent can use this form as well to challenge your parental rights.
This is the form of opposition to a paternity set aside motion, and it should be filed if you oppose the set aside.
This Order after Hearing sets forth the Court’s ruling on the paternity set aside motion.
This request is used where there is no paternity judgment but a VDOP was signed by the alleged father and now one party or the other (or a third party who claims they were really the biological father) claims that the party who signed is not the bio parent. See the FL-281 form.
This is the information you need to have in order to properly challenge a Voluntary Declaration of Paternity.
If you oppose the challenge to the Voluntary Declaration of Paternity, be sure to file this responsive declaration.
This sets forth the Court’s ruling on the motion.