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Pick what works best for your family. In addition to choosing the issues you want the judge to hear, you will also need to clearly explain to the court what you are asking for and why you are asking for these specific orders. This explanation, or statement, is called a declaration. Your declaration needs to describe the facts of your situation and give the judge the important information needed to give you orders.

You want to be honest, easy to understand, and tell the judge exactly what you want. Once you file your motion with the court, you are given a date and time for your hearing. Make sure you have your calendar available when the clerk is scheduling your hearing date in order to avoid conflicts. Like all documents you file with the court, the clerk keeps the original, double hole punched document and stamps the two copies you provided.


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The clerk returns the endorsed-filed copies back to you. One copy is for your records, and the other copy is for you to serve on the other spouse. It is up to you to ensure that your spouse is served on time.

The Three Different Legal Ways to End a Marriage

The purpose of CCRC is provide a neutral environment for parents to work out their parenting disputes with the assistance of a mental health professional, called a Child Custody Recommending Counselor. Unless there is domestic violence, parents participate together in the same room with the counselor. The goal of the recommending counselor is to facilitate an agreement between the parents and allow them the first opportunity to make decisions about their own children. There is no set time limit on these sessions. In some counties, CCRC can be as short as 15 minutes.

Other counties allot three or more hours.

The amount of time given to the parents typically depends on whether mediation is conducted the day of the hearing, or at a separate appointment prior to the hearing. If you are filing for temporary orders along with the petition, you will need to arrange to have a third party adult personally serve your spouse. For more information on service, see Step 1, Filing for Divorce.

Dos and Donts When Separating

Unless given special permission by the judge, you are required by law to serve your request at least 16 court days before the hearing. If the motion is served by mail, you must add an additional 5 calendar days to your deadline. Court days do not include weekends or any of the 13 state holidays, which are as follows:. There is little strategic value in delaying to serve your spouse with your motion. The more advance notice that can be given to the other side, the greater the opportunity is to reach agreements before the hearing date.

If you miss your deadline to serve, you will have to file additional paperwork and obtain a new court date. If you and your spouse reach an agreement, you may be able to avoid going to court if you are able to write up your agreement into a formal court order. The formal name for an agreement is a stipulation. A stipulation can become an order when the judge signs and approves of your agreement.

This is usually called a Stipulation and Order.

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As part of your agreement, you can drop vacate the hearing. Reaching an agreement and turning it into a court order is usually the best of both worlds. Not only do you remain in control of your situation and make your own decisions, but you also have the benefit of an enforceable court order.

Time Frame

You have the opportunity to tell the judge your side of the story by filing paperwork with the court before your hearing date. Your job is to respond only to the issues addressed in the Request for Orders. For example, if your spouse requests child custody and visitation orders, you need to tell the judge if you agree or disagree with the requested orders. If you disagree, you should state what you would like the judge to order. A Responsive Declaration is not the right paperwork for asking the judge for orders that are not part of the Request for Orders.

Therefore, if your spouse asks for custody and visitation orders, you should not be responding by asking the judge for spousal support. The deadline to file a Responsive Declaration is usually 9 court days before your hearing date, unless the Request for Order states otherwise. Court days do not include weekends or any of the 13 state holidays. For a list of court holidays, please see above. It is very important that you file your response in a timely manner. There are many reasons why you may not be ready for a hearing.

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Some of these typical reasons are as follows:. Moving the hearing date is commonly referred to as a continuance. You can always ask the other side to agree to a continuance. If the other side does not consent to continuing the hearing date, you can always ask the judge. Assuming you have a very good reason for not being prepared for your hearing, judges are often willing to give you a new court date.

Legal Separation

An emergency Request for Orders is called an Ex Parte. When an Ex Parte is filed, the judge is being asked to issue temporary emergency orders in a very short window of time. In order to make Ex Parte orders, the judge has to be convinced that there is a true emergency.

An emergency is defined on a case by case basis, but in general, most judges find the following to be emergencies that would warrant the filing of an Ex Parte. Ex Partes require a great deal of detail and adherence to strict procedural requirements. There are a lot of very specific state rules, local county rules, and statutory requirements that must be followed for an Ex Parte to be granted.

Your judge will make orders regarding the issues listed in the Request for Order. You should be prepared to provide the judge with additional information as requested. Based on the documents filed with the court and what each of you says at the hearing, your judge will make oral orders. These orders need to be formally memorialized in writing with a form called a Findings and Order After Hearing.

Depending on the issues, you may need to complete a number of other forms. It is very important that the orders be written up accurately and filed with the Court. Your Findings and Order After Hearing will provide both you and your spouse with clarity on what the judge ordered. You are required to obey what the judge ordered, and failure to do so may result in fines, community service, or even jail time.

Let us help alleviate some confusion and concern regarding spousal support. Start with our spousal support calculator to provide some clarity on what potentially lies ahead. Calculate Spousal Support. It is a specific way of listing out all assets, debts, income, and expenses. In addition, you will state who owns or owes each asset or debt, when the property or debt was acquired, and provide a rough value of each item.

As part of the divorce process, you will be dividing property, including debts, as well as determining support. Financial disclosures can be very tricky and tedious to complete. You are required to provide a substantial amount of documentation, including but not limited to the following:. All of these documents need to be formatted in a very specific way. You will then need to serve all of your financial disclosures on the other side; however, you will only file FL and FL with the court.

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There are two sets of financial disclosures required during the divorce process. The first disclosure is called the preliminary declaration of disclosure. The second disclosure is called the final declaration of disclosure. While many people choose to waive the final declaration of disclosure, you do not have the option to waive the preliminary declaration of disclosure.

California law states that you and your spouse have a fiduciary financial duty to the other. That means that there is a very high duty of loyalty. As part of that fiduciary duty, you are required to be an open book and allow your spouse to see all of your financial information and assets, even if you owned the asset prior to your marriage. On a practical basis, accurate financial disclosures help spouses, their attorneys, and the court to identify the estate.

Identifying the estate makes settlement negotiations easier because there is clarity on what exists and what is owed. Accurate financial disclosures allow both parties to obtain a fair outcome with confidence. The law states that each party must file a financial disclosure within 60 days of filing his or her initial paperwork.

Specifically, the Petitioner must file within 60 days of filing the Petition, and the Respondent must file within 60 days of filing the Response. Final disclosures are required to be filed no later than 45 days before trial.

The goal of drafting, filing, and serving the financial disclosures early on in the case is to provide clarity and transparency. In short, you cannot avoid having to do at least one financial disclosure, called the preliminary declaration of disclosure. It is required by law, period. Many people believe that their situation is unique and that there is some kind of exception to the law based on their circumstances.

Common situations include the following:.