Common Problems in Completing your Divorce or Separation

There are a lot of things to keep track of when you prepare and submit these final forms. The court clerk will return your court forms without filing them if you leave out a required form or some information on a form, or it is not clear what you are asking for. Often the clerk will include an instruction sheet telling you what is needed before the forms can be accepted for filing. If you are not sure what needs to be done to solve the problem, talk to a lawyer or the family law facilitator or self-help center.

Sometimes the forms will be returned with a request that you schedule a court hearing. This usually means that you are asking for something that the judge needs more information about.

If the court requests that you schedule a hearing, contact a lawyer, family law facilitator, or self-help center. You may need to give notice of the hearing to your spouse or domestic partner. When you attend your hearing, be sure to bring anything the clerk’s letter asks for, as well as your copies of all the forms you have prepared or received for your case.

The court will probably reject your judgment papers if:

  • The Judgment (Form FL-180) includes property and debts or other issues that were not listed in the following unless you wrote on those forms that you did not know the value of those assets and that the debts were unknown at the time you filed the forms:
  • The property division requested on the property declaration forms, or agreed to in the settlement agreement or stipulated judgment, appears to be 1-sided or unfair;
  • Your forms do not give enough information about your finances or parenting plan to calculate support orders;
  • You have a case with the local child support agency and you did NOT get approval for the proposed child support payments from the local child support agency;
  • The judge does not have proof of service for the Summons and the Petition; or
  • You were missing a required court form.