Welcome to FreeDivorce.com.
Christina: This is Christina.
Ed: This is Ed. Today we are going to talk about preparing a post-trial judgment.
Ed: Christina, let’s assume I went to trial, and my spouse and I each presented our case to the judge, what happens next?
Christina: At the conclusion of the trial, the judge will render his or her decisions on all of the disputed issues. Sometimes, the judge will rule from the bench at the end of the trial. If the judge rules from the bench, try to write down every decision the judge makes. Sometimes, the judge will mail you his or her written decision. Regardless of how the judge renders his or her decision, you will still need to prepare a Judgment of Dissolution, which is FL-180. If the judge sends you a written decision, that is not your Judgment of Dissolution. You will still need to prepare the FL-180. To prepare your divorce judgment, you will fill out the FL-180 and attach the various Judicial Council forms described in our earlier videos on how to prepare a judgment using the Judicial Council forms approach.
Ed: Which Judicial Council forms am I going to need besides the FL-180?
Christina: You will need the following:
- Property Order Attachment To Judgment, which is FL-345;
- If you have minor children, you will need the “Child Custody And Visitation (Parenting Time) Order Attachment”, which is FL-341. You may also want to use some of the other child custody Judicial Council forms that we discussed in earlier videos that talked about how to draft a Judgment using the Judicial Council forms approach. I am referring to forms FL-341(A) through FL-341(E);
- If you have minor children, you will need the “Child Support Information And Order Attachment”, which is FL-342;
- If you have minor children, you will also need the “Notice of Rights And Responsibilities-HealthCare Costs And Reimbursement Procedures”, which is FL-192;
- You will need the Spousal, Partner, Or Family Support Order Attachment, which is FL-343; and
- You may need the Attorney’s Fees And Costs Order Attachment, which is FL-346.
After you fill out these Judicial Council forms, attach them to your FL-180 Judgment form.
You will also need to submit to the court the “Notice Of Entry Of Judgment”, which is FL-190.
If the court issued a child support order, you will also need to prepare and submit to the court the “Income Withholding For Support” form, which is FL-195.
All of these Judicial Council forms I have just described can be found in our Court Forms Database. What you should do is watch all of our earlier videos on how to draft and assemble a Judgment of Dissolution. If you watch these videos, you will know how to draft the Judgment of Dissolution
Ed: What do I do after I have drafted my Judgment of Dissolution?
Christina: After you have drafted your Judgment of Dissolution, send it to your spouse to review and approve. There is no line on the FL-180 for your spouse to sign indicating his or her approval of the form of the judgment you drafted. You can attach a page to the judgment that reads, “Approved as conforming to the decision of the court” and then put lines below that for the date and for your spouse to sign indicating his or her approval.
Ed: What if I draft the judgment, send it to my spouse, and my spouse refused to approve the judgment?
Christina: If your spouse refuses to approve the proposed divorce judgment you prepared and the two of you can’t agree on appropriate revisions, then submit your entire proposed judgment, with all the attached Judicial Council forms, plus at least one copy of the Judgment, and also include an original and at least two copies of the FL-190 and, if you have minor children the FL-195, to the court for approval, along with a large self-addressed stamped envelope with plenty of postage. Include a cover letter to the judge explaining that you drafted the judgment and submitted it to your spouse for approval, but your spouse refused to approve the judgment. In your letter, tell the judge you believe your draft judgment accurately sets forth all of the judge’s decisions. Ask the judge, in your letter, to sign the judgment and mail you back a filed-endorsed copy of the judgment in the enclosed self-addressed stamped envelope. Send, the original letter to the judge. Send a copy of the letter, together with copies of all of the enclosures, to your spouse.