Divorces take at least 6 months and 1 day after the Petition is served (that’s just the way it is). If that feels like to long to go without help from the court, you don’t have to wait until your divorce is final.

At anytime during your divorce, you can request that the court help to decide questions of:

  • Child custody and visitation
  • Child support
  • Parenting plans
  • Spousal support
  • Lawyer fees
  • Exclusive use of home or financial accounts, payments of debts, other temporary property orders

When the court decides one of these questions, it issues an order (technical term). At this stage, these orders are temporary and remain in place until you and your spouse come to a new agreement and/or the court makes more final or in some cases, permanent orders.


How it Works

Spoiler: There’s probably a courtroom involved.

  1. One Spouse (Spouse A) files an Request for Order (RFO) and obtains a court date
  2. Spouse A serves (delivers) the RFO to Spouse B
  3. Spouse A prepares and files a Proof of Service
  4. Spouse B files & serves (by mail) a Response to the RFO
  5. You and your spouse attend child custody mediation (if applicable)
  6. You and your spouse attend Court Hearing
  7. Order is prepared and filed

* Some counties require you to participate in child custody mediation on the same day you go to court for your hearing.

Quick Tip: Usually it takes 4-8 weeks to obtain a court date. If you have “exigent circumstances” (such as your spouse won’t allow you to see your kids or you don’t have enough money to pay for basic necessities such as food or rent), you should consider filing an additional document with your RFO. This process is called an “Ex Parte” and/or a Request for an “Order Shortening Time.”

Quick Tip: If you and your spouse can come to an agreement before the actual hearing, you can prepare, sign and file a Stipulation and Order (and avoid steps 4-6 above). Use our template or hire us to prepare the docs for you.


Court Hearings

Depending on how complex or contested your case is, there are other court hearings that might take place in this step. Learn more about these types of court hearings.


Resources to Support You

We’ve compiled tools and resources to help you determine what you may or may not be entitled to and how to strategically plan your request or response. Some of our favorites are:

Let’s do this!

When requesting orders, you will need to follow the steps below (don’t worry, we’ll guide you through each one).

Before You File: If you have not completed Step 1, you will need to do so before you can file your Request for Order (RFO). You can file your RFO at the same time as your petition or response if needed.

The Star of the Show: Form FL-300

Quick Tip: There may be additional documents you need to prepare depending on the orders you are requesting. For example, if you are filing a request for financial assistance (think: legal fees, child or spousal support), you will need to prepare an Income and Expense Declaration. We’ve got all the templates and/or videos you need to complete your RFO but if you can’t find what you need, email us at hello@hellodivorce.com and we’ll point you in the right direction.

Quick Tip: Review our 10 Tips for Writing a Persuasive Family Law Declaration before writing your declaration (statement of facts) to make sure your request is as strong as possible.


DIY the Strategic Way

Use our DIY videos and Instructional Templates to guide you through preparation of your RFO.

Optional Supplemental Info

The following templates will help you to prepare supplemental information to support your request.


We’re Here for You

Allow us to assist you by preparing your documents, advising on your unique situation, or reviewing the documents you prepared before you file.


File Away

Once these documents are prepared, you will need to sign and make two copies (three total). Bring them to the courthouse and file them with the Family Law Clerk. They will give you a court date and may (but not always) provide you with information on how to schedule child custody mediation.

Next you will need to serve (deliver) the documents you filed to your spouse. Someone over the age of 18 and not related to the divorce will need to drop a copy in the mail.

Next, whoever served the documents needs to sign a Proof of Service which you will file in court. If you forget to file the Proof of Service, make sure to bring a copy of it to the hearing.

Note: If you have not already served the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, you will need to serve the Petition and RFO in person, not by mail.

If your Request for Order included a request for custody and/or a parenting plan, you will need to attend Child Custody Recommending Counseling (CCRC) or Child Custody Mediation depending on what county you reside in.

Both are similar processes but if you are doing CCRC, your mediator will make a recommendation if you and your spouse are unable to come to an agreement.

Check your paperwork after you have received your filed documents to see if there are instructions for how to schedule your orientation and/or mediation. If there are no instructions, you will likely be attending on the day of your court hearing.

Quick Tip: You and your spouse can agree to use an outside mediator so that you can choose who you work with and have a longer, more meaningful mediation session. Use our template to make that happen.

The first page of your RFO (FL-300) will have information concerning your hearing. Check page one for the court address, time, date, and department (room) number. Between the filing/serving of your RFO and your court hearing, you may want to try and work out an agreement with your ex on the contested issues.

Quick Tip: You’ll feel more confident if you feel prepared. Consider scheduling a legal coaching session with one of our stellar attorneys to go over the specifics of your case and what might come up.

Sometimes, the judge (or their staff) will prepare an order for you. If so, that’s great. If you have a hearing for financial support, you may still have to send an earnings assignment to your spouse’s employer. That will ensure that support is taken directly from your spouse’s pay check and timely sent to you.

If the court did not prepare an order (usually called “Findings and Order after Hearing”), then you will need to.

DIY the Strategic Way

Use our templates to learn how to correctly complete this form.

There you have it!

Follow these steps again should the need for additional assistance from the judge arise before your Divorce Judgment is complete.

If you are served with a Request for Order (RFO), you must file a Response (even if you plan to attend the court hearing).

Remember, while you might not have been the one who filed the RFO, this might be a good opportunity for you to seek some court assistance on one or more of the issues contained in your spouse’s RFO.

Let’s do this!

The Star of the Show: Form FL-320

If you are the Respondent and you have not yet filed a Response to the underlying Divorce action, return to Step 1 for instructions and assistance. You will need to file your Response to the Petition for Divorce before or concurrently with your response to the RFO.

Quick Tip: There may be additional documents you need to prepare. For example, if you are responding to a request for financial assistance (think: legal fees, child or spousal support), you will need to prepare an Income and Expense Declaration. We’ve got all the templates and/or videos you need to complete your RFO but if you can’t find what you need, email us at hello@hellodivorce.com and we’ll point you in the right direction.

Quick Tip: Review our 10 Tips for Writing a Persuasive Family Law Declaration before writing your declaration (statement of facts) to make sure your request is as strong as possible.


DIY the Strategic Way

Use our DIY videos and Instructional Templates to guide you through preparation of your Response to the RFO.


We’re Here for You

Allow us to assist you by preparing your documents, advising on your unique situation, or reviewing the documents you prepared before you file.


File Away

Once these documents are prepared, you will need to sign and make two copies (three total). Bring them to the courthouse and file them with the Family Law clerk.

Next you will need to serve (deliver) the documents you filed to your spouse. Someone over the age of 18 and not related to the divorce will need to drop a copy in the mail.

Next, whoever served the documents needs to sign a Proof of Service which you will file in court. If you forget to file the Proof of Service, make sure to bring a copy of it to the hearing.

If your Request for Order included a request for custody and/or a parenting plan, you will need to attend Child Custody Recommending Counseling (CCRC) or Child Custody Mediation depending on what county you reside in.

Both are similar processes but if you are doing CCRC, your mediator will make a recommendation if you and your spouse are unable to come to an agreement.

Check your paperwork after you have received your filed documents to see if there are instructions for how to schedule your orientation and/or mediation. If there are no instructions, you will likely be attending on the day of your court hearing.

Quick Tip: You and your spouse can agree to use an outside mediator so that you can choose who you work with and have a longer, more meaningful mediation session. Use our template to make that happen.

The first page of your RFO (FL-300) will have information concerning your hearing. Check page one for the court address, time, date, and department (room) number. Between the filing/serving of your RFO and your court hearing, you may want to try and work out an agreement with your ex on the contested issues.

Quick Tip: You’ll feel more confident if you feel prepared. Consider scheduling a legal coaching session with one of our stellar attorneys to go over the specifics of your case and what might come up.

Sometimes, the judge (or their staff) will prepare an order for you. If so, that’s great. If you have a hearing for financial support, you may still have to send an earnings assignment to your spouse’s employer. That will ensure that support is taken directly from your spouse’s pay check and timely sent to you.

If the court did not prepare an order (usually called “Findings and Order after Hearing”), then you will need to.

DIY the Strategic Way

If your spouse does not prepare the order, use our templates to learn how to correctly complete this form.

There you have it!

Follow these steps again if your spouse files another Request for Order. Or file your own Request for Order should the need for additional assistance from the judge arise before your Divorce Judgment is complete.


 

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