Requests for Orders During Your Divorce or Legal Separation
Once you have filed your Petition
(Form FL-100) asking for a divorce or legal separation, you can ask for temporary orders while your case moves ahead. Some typical temporary orders people ask for are custody and visitation of the children, child support, or spousal/partner support. But, there maybe be other orders like, temporary use of an item of property, like a car, until the divorce or separation resolves the final division of property.
Either spouse or partner can make these requests, but keep in mind that if you are the Respondent (if your spouse or partner filed the case and you are responding to the Petition), you have to file a Response (Form FL-120) before or at the same time as your Request for Order. You cannot file a Request for Order if you have not filed a Response in the case.
Click on the topic below that describes the type of order you want to request while your divorce or legal separation case is in process:
For other types of requests while your divorce or separation case in in process, follow these steps:
- Fill out your court forms
On Form FL-300, check all the applicable boxes about the orders you want. If you do not see the type of order you want on the form, check box 8 for "Other relief" and list the orders there. You can use item 10 to explain why you want these orders or use an Attached Declaration (Form MC-031). Remember, ff there are other related forms you had to complete to make your request, attach those too.
- Request for Order (Form FL-300). You can use the Information Sheet for Request for Order (Form FL-300-INFO) for information. (Ask your family law facilitator if you need to check the box for “Court Order” and item 4 on Form FL-300).
- Temporary Emergency Orders (Ex Parte) (Form FL-305) if you want the judge to make temporary orders to go into effect BEFORE the court hearing that will be scheduled. If you are asking for temporary emergency court orders, check the box for “Court Order” and item 4 on FL-300. You will likely have to notify the other side before filing your Form FL-300 that you are seeking temporary emergency orders. Your court may have local rules about this and a local form for you to fill out. You can also use the Declaration Regarding Notice and Delivery of Request for Temporary Emergency (Ex Parte) Orders (Form FL-303). Ask your court's family law facilitator or self-help center for help understanding this step.
- Any other forms or documents you need to support your request, like financial declarations, witness statements, or other documents. Ask a lawyer or your court's family law facilitator if you need to know what else you need to fill out or attach to your request.
Note: A Request for Order (Form FL-300) does not necessarily mean the other side has to show up to the court hearing. In some cases, you may want or need the other side to come to court. To find out more about how to make sure they come to court or whether it would be helpful in your case, click to learn about Notices to Attend a Hearing and Subpoenas..
- Have your forms reviewed
If your court’s family law facilitator or self-help center helps people with orders related to a divorce, ask them to review your paperwork. They can make sure you filled it out properly before you move ahead with your case. And, again, make sure you ask them if there are any local forms you need to fill out in addition to the forms listed here.
- Make at least 2 copies of all your forms
One copy will be for you; the other copy will be for your spouse or domestic partner. The original is for the court.
- File your forms with the court clerk
Turn in your forms to the court clerk. He or she will keep the original and return the copies to you, stamped “Filed.” You will have to pay a filing fee. If you cannot afford the fee, you can ask for a fee waiver.
- Get your court date
The clerk will give you a court date and write it on your Form FL-300.
- Serve your papers on your spouse or domestic partner.
Have someone other than yourself (and at least 18 years old) serve your spouse or domestic partner with a copy of your papers and a blank Responsive Declaration to Request for Order (Form FL-320).
Get more information about “service.” Look at the front of Form FL-300 to see if the court ordered you to serve any other documents.
- If you filed a Request for Order (Form FL-300) with the box for "Court Order" and Item 4 checked, your papers MUST be served in person at least 16 court days before your court hearing date.
- If you filed a Request for Order (Form FL-300) with NO checks on the box for "Court Order" nor on Item 4 and no temporary emergency court orders, you can probably serve your spouse or domestic partner by mail. But if you serve by mail, you must do it at least 16 court days before the hearing plus 5 calendar days for mailing. Ask the family law facilitator if you are not sure if you can serve your papers by mail. If you are the Petitioner in the divorce, you cannot serve by mail if you have not yet served your spouse or domestic partner with the divorce Petition (Form FL-100 or FL-103) and the Summons.
- File your proof of service
Have your server (the person or persons who mailed or hand-delivered your papers to your spouse or domestic partner) fill out a proof of service (you can use Proof of Personal Service (Form FL-330) or Proof of Service by Mail (Form FL-335)) and give it to you so you can file it with the court. It is very important that your server fills out the proof of service correctly. If possible, have your family law facilitator or self-help center review it to make sure it was filled out properly.
- Go to your court hearing
Go to your court hearing and take a copy of all your papers and your Proof of Service.
Read Going to Court to find out how to prepare for your court hearing.
After the court hearing
Once the judge makes a decision at the court hearing, the judge will sign a court order. In some courtrooms, the clerk or court staff will prepare this order for the judge’s signature. In other courtrooms, it is the responsibility of the person who asked for the hearing to prepare the court order for the judge to sign. If either side has a lawyer, the lawyer will usually be asked to prepare the order.
If you have to prepare this order, you will need to fill out the Findings and Order After Hearing (Form FL-340), and an attachment detailing the orders that the judge made.
Remember, the family law facilitator or self-help center may be able to help you with these forms.
And keep in mind that even though you have these court orders in place, you still have to finish up your divorce case. Do not forget to complete the rest of the paperwork and processes that are required for your divorce to become final.