Welcome to FreeDivorce.com.
Christina: This is Christina.
Ed: This is Ed. Today, we are going to talk about exactly how to draft a divorce judgment using a collection of Judicial Council forms. We are going to go through each of the Judicial Council forms. If you decided to draft your divorce judgment using our Marital Settlement Agreement template, you can skip this video. If you are not going to use our Marital Settlement Agreement template, then you are going to use the Judicial Council forms described in this video to set forth the terms of the settlement agreement you negotiated with your spouse.
Ed: Christina, which Judicial Council form will I use to set forth the agreement I reached with my spouse regarding the division of our assets and debts?
Christina: The form you will use is called, “Property Order Attachment To Judgment” (FL-345). In our Court Forms Database, you can find both an example of a completed FL-345 and a blank FL-345 form that you can fill out and print. This is a two-page form. You go through the form. Check the appropriate boxes. Fill in the appropriate information. For example, in item #1(C), you will list all the community property assets the Petitioner will receive, and in item #1(D), you will list all the community property assets Respondent will receive. In section #2 of the form, you do the same thing, but for community debts. You will list which community debts the Petitioner will be responsible for paying and which debts the Respondent will be responsible for paying.
As we mentioned in an earlier video, these Judicial Council forms can be a bit difficult to use when you try to set forth any sort of detailed property settlement agreement. They are O.K. for very simple agreements but are a problem when you have any kind of unique or detailed agreements. The form does not give you much room to list assets or debts. There is very little space for you to provide very much information in terms of explaining any details of your agreement. You can get the job done by resorting to adding attachments to the FL-345. If you need to add any attachments to the FL-345, use the Judicial Council form called “Judicial Council Attachment Form” that goes by the number MC-025. Note, this form begins with the letters “MC” and not “FL” so, when you go to our Court Forms Database, this “MC” form, won’t be grouped with the Family Law forms.
During this video, we are frequently going to say you can add attachments to the various Judicial Council forms. Whenever you want to add an attachment to any Judicial Council form, you can use the MC-025 form.
If you try to set forth your property settlement agreement on the FL-345 and find the form too cumbersome to use, try using our Marital Settlement Agreement template. You will find that the Marital Settlement Agreement template is a lot easier to set forth the terms of your settlement agreement than trying to make your agreement fit into all of the Judicial Council forms.
If you are going to stick with the Judicial Council Forms approach, after you have filled out the FL-345 form, print it. Set it aside for now. You are going to end up attaching that form to your divorce judgment, which will be the FL-180 form.
Ed: Christina, which Judicial Council form or forms will I use to set forth the agreement I reached with my spouse regarding child custody?
Christina: There is a collection of at least six different Judicial Council forms you can fill out in order to set forth your child custody agreement. You don’t have to fill out all six forms. Start with the form entitled, “Child Custody And Visitation (Parenting Time) Order Attachment” (FL-341). You may be able to set forth your entire custody agreement in just this one form. It is the basic child custody form. If you go to our Court Forms Database, you will find both an example of a completed FL-341 and a blank FL-341 form that you can fill out and print. The FL-341 is a 3-page form. You go through the form, check the appropriate boxes and fill in the appropriate blanks, in order to set forth your child custody agreement.
Ed: As you go through the FL-341 form, the form refers to the other Judicial Council custody forms, which are FL-341(A) through FL-341(E). These additional forms can be used to set forth more detailed information regarding child custody agreements. Let’s briefly go through these additional custody forms. Let’s start with FL-341(A).
Christina: Not many people will use this form. It’s used to set forth a custody order for supervised visitation. You may want a supervised visitation order if the children are at risk from one parent due to a history of physical abuse, sexual abuse, alcohol or drug abuse, and things of that nature.
Ed: What about FL-341(B)?
Christina: Again, not many people will use this form. It’s used when there is a risk that a parent will abduct a child. The form includes various court orders designed to reduce the risk of child abduction.
Ed: What about FL-341(C)?
Christina: A child custody order should include provisions about how to share custody of the children during holidays and other special days, such as birthdays. A child custody order should also include provisions about each parent having the right to take the children on vacation. FL-341(C) is entitled, “Children’s Holiday Schedule Attachment”. Although you are not required to use this form, it is a good idea to have your custody order deal with holiday and vacation issues. You do not have to allocate all of the holidays. If you prefer, you can address only the major holidays listed on the form. If there are holidays that are important to you that are not listed on the form, you can type them in on page 2 of the form.
Ed: What about FL-341(D)?
Christina: This is another Judicial Council custody form that can be useful. It is called, “Additional Provisions – Physical Custody Attachment”. Many of the provisions set forth on this form should be part of a child custody order. Read over the options offered. Check the boxes for the provisions you want to be included as part of your custody agreement.
Ed: What about FL-341(E)?
Christina: If you and your spouse, like most parents, are going to share joint legal custody, then you should fill out the Judicial Council form called, “Joint Legal Custody Attachment”, which is (FL-341E). This form should not be used when one party is going to have sole legal custody. If one parent is going to have sole legal custody, you don’t need the FL-341E form. The form is easy to fill out. Just read it and check the appropriate boxes that you want to be checked.
Ed: What if I try to set forth my child custody agreement on the Judicial Council forms, but the forms, even with attachments, are not covering everything I want in my agreement, what can I do?
Christina: You can use the Marital Settlement Agreement template approach to drafting your divorce judgment. If you use our Marital Settlement Agreement template, you can look over the wide range of custody provisions we offer, pick which ones you want, and then “cut and paste” those provisions into the body of the Marital Settlement Agreement. You can edit any of our provisions. You type in your own provisions and end up with the exact custody agreement you want.
Ed: Are all of the child custody Judicial Council forms that we have been talking about in this video available for free in our Court Forms Database?
Christina: Yes. All the forms are in our database. You can find the forms in our database, fill them out, and print them. For some of the forms, we have blank versions as well as completed versions that you can refer to as a sample.
Ed: After I fill out my child custody forms, what do I do?
Christina: After you have filled out the FL-341 form, plus any of the other custody forms that are FL-341(A) through FL-341(E), print the forms. Set aside your child custody forms for now. After you draft your divorce judgment form, which is FL-180, which we discuss in a later video, you will attach your child custody Judicial Council forms to that Judgment.
Ed: Christina, which Judicial Council form or forms will I use to set forth the agreement I reached with my spouse regarding child support?
Christina: There is a Judicial Council form you can use to set forth your agreement about child support. The form is called, “Child Support Information And Order Attachment”, which is FL-342. This is a three-page form. Like the other forms we have discussed, you go through the form, check the appropriate boxes, and fill in the appropriate blanks. Question #1 on this form is asking you if you are attaching a computer calculation and findings to the form. This is a reference to the printout you would get after running your DissoMaster calculation or after using the free online child support calculator on the State of California website.
Ed: Does the FL-342 form assume that our child support agreement is for the statutory “guideline” amount of child support?
Christina: Yes. The FL-342 assumes you are agreeing to the “guideline” amount of child support, which is the amount generated by a child support computer software program. As previously discussed, the “guideline” child support amount is determined by use of a computer program that incorporates the child support statutory guideline formulas. You don’t have to agree to the “guideline” amount of child support. You and your spouse can agree to higher or lower amounts of support. However, if you are going to agree to a non-guideline amount, then you will also need to fill out an additional Judicial Council form known as “Non-guideline Child Support Findings Attachment” FL-342(A).
Ed: Can the FL-342 and the FL-342(A) forms be found in our Court Forms database?
Christina: Yes. You can find both blank versions of the FL-342 and FL-342(A) in our database, plus a completed versions that you can use as samples. Both versions are free. Go to our database. Fill out the FL-342 form, and the FL-342(A) form if you are agreeing to a non-guideline amount of child support. Print whatever forms you have completed. Then, set them aside for now. Later, you will attach the child support forms to your divorce judgment form, which again is FL-180.
Ed: What if the child support agreement I reached with my spouse includes lots of provisions that do not appear anywhere on the FL-342, such as provisions for the maintenance of life insurance for the benefit of the children, the sharing of the cost of extra-curricular activities, college education provisions, provisions about which parent is to claim the children as exemptions on future income tax returns, and similar provisions?
Christina: You can try to add those kinds of provisions in the small space provided in item #11 on the FL-342 or you can add an attachment to the form. Another option is to use the Marital Settlement Agreement approach instead of the Judicial Council forms approach.
Ed: If my divorce settlement agreement includes child support provisions, is there another Judicial Council form that I am required to attach to my divorce judgment?
Christina: Yes. Usually, one parent advances the out-of-pocket health care cost for the children and then seeks reimbursement. There has to be a reimbursement procedure. There is a Judicial Council form known as, “Notice of Rights And Responsibilities – Health-Care Costs and Reimbursement Procedures”, (FL-192). There is nothing to fill out on the form. You simply print it and attach it to your Judgment of Dissolution. If you have minor children, the FL-192 must be attached to your divorce judgment. If you don’t have minor children, you don’t need the FL-192. The FL-192 can be found in our Court Forms database.
Ed: Christina, which Judicial Council form or forms will I use to set forth the agreement I reached with my spouse regarding spousal support?
Christina: There is a Judicial Council form that you can use to set forth your agreement about spousal support. The form is called, “Spousal, Partner, Or Family Support Order Attachment”, which is FL-343. This is a two page form. Again, go through the form. Check the appropriate boxes and fill in the appropriate blanks.
Ed: If the spousal support agreement I reached with my spouse does not really fit the FL-343 form, are my options to either add an attachment or use the Marital Settlement Agreement approach?
Christina: That’s correct.
Ed: Are blank and completed versions of the FL-343 contained in our Court Forms database?
Christina: They are.
Ed: After I finish filling out the FL-343, do I set it aside for now because I will later attach it to my FL-180 divorce judgment form?
Christina: That’s correct.
Ed: If the divorce settlement agreement I made with my spouse includes an agreement that I pay all or part of her attorney fees, is there a Judicial Council form that I can use to set forth the attorney fees agreement?
Christina: There is, but if you have not incurred any attorney fees because you are doing all of the work yourself to process the divorce, then there is probably no need to include this form as part of your judgment. However, perhaps your spouse did incur some attorney fees when she consulted with an attorney, or perhaps she paid fees to the court that she wants you to reimburse. So, there is a form you can attach to your Judgment of Dissolution if you want the judgment to include orders for the payment of attorney fees and/or court costs. The form is called, “Attorney’s fees And Costs Order Attachment”, which is FL-346. You can find a blank version and a completed version of the FL-346 in our Court Forms Database.
Ed: In the next video, we are going to talk about the divorce judgment Judicial Council form, which is the FL-180. You will complete the FL-180 and then attach all of the other Judicial Council forms that we have discussed in this video to your FL-180. After you have done that, you will submit your FL-180, along with all your attachments, to the court for approval by the judge. We will explain how you submit your judgment to the court, and talk about the additional forms you need to submit to the court along with your judgment, in other videos.