The most common reason an individual struggles with doing his own divorce is that the paperwork is often confusing and always overwhelming. Some of the terminology is difficult to understand as well, and failure to mark one little box or submit one single form in a timely manner could result in the court refusing to hear a particular claim of right. Don’t let this happen to you!
Here are some of the common pitfalls people run into when doing their own family law paperwork:
Failure to submit all of the necessary documents, or submitting the incorrect version of a document
- Did you know that there are approximately 8 different Summons forms out there? The one you choose is based on the type of case you have.
- Forms are updated periodically, so if you filled out a form several months ago but never filed it, it may be outdated by the time you take it to court.
- Some counties in California have local forms, which are required for that county only, but not for another.
Not serving the opposing party properly and/or not filing the appropriate Proof of Service form with the court
- As with Summons forms, there are many different Proof of Service forms out there, and if you complete the wrong one, it will be rejected by the court.
- Most documents must be served on the opposing party BEFORE they get filed with the court, and the court clerk will not file these documents unless they see the proper Proof of Service form attached. Also, there are a couple of instances where you must file a document before you serve it.
Not following proper procedures when requesting support or custody
- If you are requesting any form of child or spousal support, you must complete an Income and Expense Declaration and attach proof of income. This must be served on the opposing party, and it must be filed with the court in advance of your hearing.
- If child custody is at issue, you are required to attend mediation. Certain forms are required for this.
“Housekeeping” issues when you get to the courthouse
- Did you date and sign your documents?
- Did you make the correct number of copies?
- Did you have cash or a check for the applicable filing fees?
These are just a few of the common pitfalls people experience when trying to do their own paperwork. By seeking assistance with the preparation of your legal documents, such as with the Limited Scope Representation services we provide at Family Law Center, you can avoid falling into a black hole of paperwork and frustration. Give us a call!