Video #55 – Contested Divorce PART 5 (Filing and Serving FL-300 with the Court)

Welcome to 

Christina:  This is Christina.

Ed:  This is Ed.  Today, we are going to talk about how to file your FL-300 with the court clerk and how to serve your FL-300 after it has been filed.

Christina:  After I have completed my FL-300, what do I do?

Ed:  After you have filled out your FL-300, make two copies and file the FL-300 with the court clerk.  If your requests for temporary orders include financial issues, such as requests for support orders or a request for an award of attorney’s fees, you will also have to file a current Income & Expense Declaration, which is FL-150, unless you already have a current FL-150 on file with the court.  The court clerk will charge you a filing fee, unless you have a fee waiver or unless you filed the FL-300 at the same time you filed the Petition for Dissolution.

When you file the FL-300, the court clerk will give you a hearing date.  The clerk will write the date on the front page of the FL-300.  The court clerk will keep the original FL-300 and give you back two filed-endorsed copies.  If your RFO involves custody issues, the clerk may also give you instructions about how to contact Family Court Services to schedule child custody mediation or child custody recommending counseling. 

Christina:  How do I serve my FL-300 and any supporting documents, such as my FL-150, on my spouse?

Ed:  When you serve the FL-300, you also have to give your spouse a blank “Responsive Declaration To Request For Order”, which is FL-320.  You can find a blank FL-320 in our Court Forms Database.  

If your FL-300 raises financial issues, you will also have to give your spouse a blank Income and Expense Declaration.  

If you filed your FL-300 at the same time you filed your Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, have the FL-300 served at the same time you have the Petition served on your spouse.  

If you filed the FL-300 after you served your spouse with the Petition, then the FL-300 can be served by mail if your spouse has made an “appearance” in the action.  As we mentioned in earlier videos, your spouse makes an appearance in the action by filing his or her Response, which is FL-120.  If you are the Respondent, then your spouse has already made an “appearance” in the action by filing the divorce petition.

Assuming your spouse has already made an “appearance” in the action, have a friend that is over 18 years old mail your spouse a filed-endorsed copy of the FL-300 and your FL-150, together with the blank FL-320 and a blank FL-150.  Again, you only need to include the FL-150 if financial issues are raised by your FL-300.    After your friend has mailed the FL-300 and other forms, have your friend fill out a “Proof of Service By Mail”, which is FL-335.  You can find a blank FL-335 in our Court Forms Database.   After the FL-335 has been filled out and signed by your friend, make one copy and file the FL-335 with the court clerk.   Take your filed-endorsed copy of the FL-335 with you to the court hearing.  At the hearing, you will need to prove that the FL-300 was properly served.

Christina:  When do I have to serve my FL-300 on my spouse?

Ed:  The FL-300 must be served at least 16 “court” days before the hearing.  Note it is “court” days, not “calendar” days.  You don’t count Saturdays or Sundays or court holidays.  Also be aware that if you serve the FL-300 by mail, as opposed to having it personally served on your spouse, you have to add an extra 5 calendar days.  So, if you are serving your FL-300 by mail, look at the hearing date.  Don’t count the day of the hearing.  Count back 16 “court” days, and then add 5 additional calendar days.  Make sure your FL-300 is in the mail to your spouse by this date.

Christina:  Should I hold off serving my spouse with the FL-300 to minimize the amount of time my spouse will have to prepare for the hearing?

Ed:  No.  Don’t wait until the last day to serve your RFO.  Mail your spouse your FL-300 the same day you file it with the court.  This is important, particularly if your FL-300 raises custody issues.  If you and your spouse need to go to child custody mediation or child custody recommending counseling, it will take time to get an appointment.  If you wait too long to serve the FL-300, you may not get an appointment before the hearing, in which event, the hearing will likely need to be continued. 

If your FL-300 is requesting child custody orders, after your spouse has been served, contact him or her and make sure they understand that your paperwork requires them to contact Family Court Services as soon as possible and schedule an appointment for Child Custody Mediation or Child Custody Recommending Counseling.  If your spouse does not call Family Court Services, you may not get your appointment until after the hearing date, which will cause the hearing to be continued.

Christina:  In the next video, we will discuss what to do at the FL-300 hearing and how to prepare an Order After the Hearing.


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