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California Divorce And Child Custody Forms

Hi, my name is Cristin Lowe, and this is going to be talking about the response, which FL 120. So if you are the person who has been served with the divorce papers, or you are the petitioner just wanting to know what it’s going to be like or what your spouse needs to fill out this is the right tutorial for you. So we are on my homepage, which is cristinlowelaw, and we’re going to take you to commonly used forms , and we are going to go to FL 120,.

Which is the response. Ok, so, when you fill out the response, the first thing you need to understand is the caption, so get used to this caption, it’s going to be very very similar or identical to every other form you fill out. So we’re going to take you through it very slowly. In this case, we’ve been using the hypothetical that John Smith is the petitioner and Jane Smith is the respondent. So, as the respondent, Jane is going to be filing the response. So we’re going to put her name at the top which is Jane Smith. And we’re.

Going to just use the hypothetical that John and Jane are actually still living in the same house. So her address is also 124 Rose Street, in San Ramon, California, 94582. And her phone number is 415.442.5566. In Contra Costa county, it doesn’t really need to have a fax number, you don’t really need to put an email address you can if you want, but it’s not utilized right now in 2015. And we’re going to put attorney for , and we’re going to say that Jane is also selfrepresented, which is the word, in pro per or in propria.

Filing California Divorce Forms Form 6 of 10 the FL120

Persona. You’re going to hear those terms used interchangeably they mean the same thing, they mean that you are selfrepresented. So we’re in the county of Contra Costa, and the street address is 751 Pine Street, and there are a lot of courthouses in the Martinez area, so it’s easy to get confused this is the one for family law. And it’s PO Box 911, and the city and zip code is Martinez, California, 94553. And just for your reference, you don’t have to fill this in the form, but the name of the family law center is the Peter.

L. Spinetta Family Law Center, and they actually have the name of the center in pretty big letters on a sign outside of the courthouse so it’s easy to be able to find the courthouse if you know the name, which is Peter L. Spinetta. And we have the petitioner, so you are the respondent, meaning your spouse is the petitioner and I want you to know it’s a nofault state, so it doesn’t matter if you’re the petitioner or respondent, so petitioner is going to be your spouse’s name at the top in this case, it’s John Smith, and the respondent is you.

Or Jane Smith. And I get this question a lot Do I have to request a divorce if I don’t want a divorce The answer is no. It doesn’t stop the divorce, but is a statement whether or not you agree the divorce or want the divorce. What is important is you preserve your legal rights by filing a response. So we’re going to do a response to a dissolution, and dissolution is a fancy word for divorce , which they now spell out, so it’s a really good change in 2015, and it’s a dissolution of marriage. So in filling out the response,.

Your case number is going to be the same that’s on the petition so the documents you were served with, there should be a case number basically in the same spot here, and in Contra Costa county, if it’s 2015, it’s going to start with D15 , and there’s going to be a dash and 5 other numbers. That’s what you’re going to fill out for case number. You have the same case number as what your spouse filed for, and that’s the same case number that you’re going to find anywhere. So the next step is to figure out where and when to file.

So we have the address of the courthouse, but what you need to know are the clerk window hours, so there are only limited hours where you can file your paperwork. And in Martinez, it’s going to be from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. Alright so we’ve scrolled down from the caption because it’s always the same no matter what, and I want to focus on the substance of the document which is in this case, the response. So you are going to be asked very similar questions to what was asked in the petition, and you may want to know why I have to fill.

Out the same information. It’s because you get a chance to say your side of the story, whether you agree or disagree with what is said in the petition. So we start with the basics we are married, so in this case, Jane and John have been married, so she’s gonna check the box 1A , so we are talking about in this series a divorce. The second thing, residency requirements, so in California, we need something called jurisdiction in order to obtain a divorce. Jurisdiction is the legal term for authority , or ability , so the.

Court needs to have jurisdiction or the ability to hear your case, or jurisdiction over the two of you or one of you to be able to hear the divorce case. What does that mean In your case, it means somebody has to be in California for at least 6 months physically in California, and a resident of the county you’re filing in for at least 3 months. We don’t need you both, so let’s say John lived in Florida, and wanted to file for divorce in California as long as Jane meets the residency requirement being in California.

For 6 months and in a county for at least 3 months, he could file for divorce in California. So in this case, we’re going to say that Jane has been a resident of this state for at least 6 months, and of the county for at least 3 months, so we’re going to check the box, 2 , and then go to respondent because Jane is the respondent, we’re going to check that box. If both of you qualify, meaning petitioner and respondent, you could check them both. If it’s just the petitioner, you can just check the petitioner, if it’s just respondent,.

Just respondent you have to check at least one, otherwise you don’t qualify for a divorce in California. Next, we’re going to go to statistical facts. The third one is 3 date of marriage, so you’re going to check that box and you’re going to put down your date of marriage. And it is no uncommon that people forget their dates of marriage, so don’t feel embarrassed if you have to go back and look at your marriage certificate or ask your parents for the date. Sometimes, your spouse might get it wrong. So this is your chance to fix.

It and put down what the actual date of marriage is. The next concept is going to be the date of separation in this case, the date of marriage we’re going to say is February 24th, 2004 and if you watch the tutorial series on the petition, it is the same date, so Jane and John were able to remember successfully that their date of marriage was February 24th, 2004. Date of separation so the date of separation is a really important legal concept. It is the date that you believe the marriage was over. And if there’s one point where the.

Petition and the response tend to differ, it’s going to be on that date of separation because it’s a subjective opinion. Not always do we have two people who agree our marriage ended on this date. It happens a lot where people agree, yes, that was the date we can both identify and clearly state this is the date our marriage was over. But if you differ, I don’t want you to feel pressured to put down whatever the petition states you need to put down the date that you believe the marriage was over. It is not just an emotional.

Date you need to understand that there are legal consequences to the date of separation. What does that mean So anything acquired, or earned, or incurred after that date of separation is going to be your separate obligation or your separate asset or your spouse’s separate obligation or asset depending on who acquired or incurred it. So for example, if I am the respondent and I believe the date of separation was today, and my husband won the lottery tomorrow, that would be all his separate property. Likewise, if I won the lottery the day after.

The date of separation, that would be all my earnings. If it was during the marriage, it would be considered what we call community property , or presumed to be 5050. So that’s one example of how the date of separation has a lot of legal significance and does determine the division of assets and debts. The other way the date of separation is important is because it determines the length of your marriage. If your marriage is under 10 years, it is presumed to be what we call a short term marriage. If it’s over 10 years, we assume.

That you have what’s called long term marriage. Long term marriage in California has implications when it comes to spousal support or alimony. So if you have any questions regarding the length of your marriage or you’re somewhere in between that 9 to 11 year mark, you probably want to talk to an attorney or do some more research and understand more on your rights and obligations if you have a long term vs. a short term marriage. So going back to the actual document itself, we’re going to put in the date of separation as January 16th,.

2015, and again if you go back to this series on the petition, you’ll see that John has the same date. So in this case, they both agree their marriage was over on January 16th, 2015. Alright, we’re going to go down to number 4 minor children. So, they give the definition children born before or born or adopted during the marriage or domestic partnership. What does that actually mean It means a child where mom is the petitioner and dad is the respondent, or mom is the respondent and dad is the petitioner. It’s a child of that particular.

Relationship. So stepchildren don’t count. Children where there’s a different parent involved does not count as a child of the relationship unless they’re adopted. So in this case, we are using one minor child, so we’re gonna check the box, 4B , and the child’s name in this case is Ryan Smith. And again, you don’t have to use middle names you can, you don’t have to, but we do need a first and last name but no nicknames please. Birth date we are going to put down as April 20th, 2006, and we are actually shooting this.

Before he turns 9, so we’ll put age 8, although if you’re watching this later on in the year, he is going to be 9 it’s not my bad math, although I’m terrible at math. Alright, sex is male , and just so you know, there is going to be another form in this case, which is a minor child. So it should have been a document you were served with you should have been served with a blank 120 and you should have been served also with a blank 105 if you have minor children. And 4C is just telling you that you have that document.

That you need to file. Alright so we’re going to skip D , but if you had a child that was born prior to your marriage but is a child of your relationship, you would want to check that box and basically establish that child as a legal child of the marriage. Okay, so we’re going down to the legal grounds for divorce, and we’re going to go to 5C , meaning why are you asking for a divorce So California is what we call a no fault state, meaning that either one of you can ask for a divorce we don’t care if you’re the petitioner,.

We don’t care if you’re the respondent. Nobody is good or bad for being one or the other. We also don’t really care about why you’re getting a divorce and we do that because we don’t want anyone to play the blame game. It doesn’t have an impact on the assets or debts, and sometimes it ends up fair, and sometimes it ends up not being fair. But either way, California as a state has taken the policy that we don’t want to deal with the reason for the divorce. So we generically term this as irreconcilable differences. So in this.

Case, 5C , the respondent’s going to request the divorce based on number 1, so C1 divorce on A , irreconcilable differences. The only other grounds for divorce in California would be the permanent legal incapacity to make decisions. So this is one of the changes to the form from 2014 and before. It used to be incurable insanity , and I actually got quite a few questions on, Well, I think my spouse is insane. Can I just put that , or You know, it would be kind of funny. Can I put that he or she is incurably insane.

And that’s not really what we mean even if they have some mental disorder. We’re talking about a permanent legal incapacity to make decisions. So they’ve been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, or they’ve had some sort of traumatic brain injury that renders them incapable of taking care of themselves or making any kind of decisions, and they need some kind of conservator or guardian to help them out. Alright, so then we’re going down to number 6, which is child custody and visitation. So we have, in this case, little Ryan, and what do we.

Want for legal custody Well, legal custody we have to start with, What is legal custody. So legal custody is Who has the right to make decisions about Ryan’s life. We’re talking about big ticket items. We’re talking about who gets to make the decision about medical decisions. He’s been in a car accident. We’re going to do surgery, or we’re going to hold off. Childcare or school, private or public school Extracurricular activities, whether he or she is financially responsible when Ryan breaks the window or something like that. So, kind of the big day to day parenting decisions. In this case, we’re going to do.

Joint, and that means that Jane wants to make these decisions with John. They’re going to share in the big decision making process. So we’re going to check the box, 6A , and we’re going to check joint. Physical custody what does that mean Physical custody is where does Ryan physically live, or where does he reside If it is with petitioner, that means it is a statement that Ryan lives primarily with the petitioner and spends visitation or periods of time with the respondent in this case, Jane, or vice versa lives with.

Jane, visits John. That’s what physical custody means. If we have joint and I’m going to have you check the box, joint , it means that both parents have substantial periods of time with little Ryan. Visitation will be granted to both of them petitioner and respondent. So visitation basically means the parenting time. How much time each of you is spending with the child, and you can do a specific schedule, or you don’t have to, so we’re going to check both boxes petitioner and respondent. And if you had a child born.

Before your marriage, but is your child, you would check, D. In this case, Ryan was born during the marriage so we don’t have to worry about that. We’re going to scroll down to number 7, and you don’t actually have to fill anything out, but just to let you know that anytime there’s a child involved, the issue of child support automatically comes out. There’s nothing you can do to what we call, waive or terminate that issue, it’s unlike any other issue because it has to deal with your child, and your child has rights as well.

We can’t waive or terminate the issue of child support it is automatically there as soon as there’s a child of your relationship. You two can elect to have no child support back and forth between the other, but you can’t end that issue. The other issue, that is kind of a sticky one, would be the earnings assignment, or the wage assignment. I hear both ways, which is, How do I make sure that i get child support , or How do I prevent my wages from being garnished. The answer is you can’t really do either. Child support can be by.

Wage assignment, and that’s in fact what the law says wage assignment will issue, meaning it’s going to come directly out of whoever is paying child support it’s going to come out of his or her paycheck, and it’s going to go directly to the person getting the child support. You two can agree to do it a different way, but if you can’t agree, that’s the way it should go. And i know that might not seem very fair, but that is what the law is. When I get asked if there’s any way around it, the answer is unfortunately not. As many even.

Thoughs and even if’s and extra scenarios you can come with, unless there’s an agreement to stay or not implement a wage assignment, it’s going to go into effect. Alright, so the next one we’re going to talk about is spousal support. So the issue of spousal support what is spousal support It’s another word for alimony, or basically it’s support from one person to the other for their maintenance. We’re not talking about child support it’s completely different. Spousal support, just so you know, is considered income, so if you.

Are receiving spousal support, it’s taxable income to you, and whoever is paying spousal support gets to deduct it on his or her taxes. So in this case, let’s say that Jane want’s spousal support from John, and this is where you have to do a little bit of reading and make sure you check the right boxes because it’s very easy to mix them up. So, in this case, Jane wants spousal support she’s going to check the box, 8A , so she’s asking for spousal support payable to not from, so to who To Jane, who is the respondent, so.

We’re going to check the box for respondent. And let’s say that Jane doesn’t want to pay spousal support to John, so again, you’re going to have to read the boxes carefully. So, B , terminate or end, the court’s ability to award spousal support to who Well, Jane doesn’t want to pay to John. Who is John John is the petitioner, so we’re going to check the box petitioner. If Jane isn’t certain she wants spousal support and she’s not certain if she wants to pay spousal support, she can check the box, reserve. We’re not.

Going to do that today, but just so you understand what reserve means reserve means we are going to I consider it shut the door we’re not going to order spousal support, we’re not asking for it now but I’m not going to lock the door and throw away the key, meaning, I want to keep the issue open , or if I do want to open that door at a later time and walk through it and ask for spousal support, I want to receive that right or maintain that.

Right or reserve it. Alright, so the next issue that we deal with would be separate property. Separate property is defined as anything acquired before marriage, so in this case, before February 24th, 2004, or after separation after January 16th, 2015. So for example, Jane wins the lottery on January 17th, 2015 that is presumed to be her separate property. In this case, we’re going to assume there is no separate property, so we’re just going to check the box, 9A , but if in your particular situation, you have separate property,.

You want to list it out. If you have a car that you got before marriage, you want to list it out and confirm too, you’re going to put petitioner or you’re going to put respondent depending on who’s it is. Alright, going down, the next issue is community property. So what is community property Community property is anything acquired during your marriage, so anything in their case acquired February 24th, 2004 until January 16th, 2015. So anything acquired during that time whether it’s in John’s name or Jane’s name, it’s presumed.

To be community property. And we are going to list it, so 10B. We want determine rights to community and quasi community assets and debts, and we’re going to list them follows. So you’re going to hear mixed theories on this this is just my personal opinion, my personal opinion is that you want to be a little bit more specific. I don’t like the answers, to be determined , or see attached list at a later date , or will be provided later on , or unknown at this time. I’m not a big fan of that I prefer more specificity,.

I think it leads to better communication, I think it’s clearer for the court, it gives the judge a better idea of what’s out there, it gives you a better idea of what’s out there. My recommendation is to actually list the property. That doesn’t mean that you go on for 30 pages, it doesn’t mean you inventory the contents of your house and list every pot and pan and piece of linen that you’ve got. But it does mean that you kind of give a general list of what’s out there. So in this case, we are going to list the family.

Residence, we are going to list the real property located at 124 Rose Street, and the city and the state, and then we’ll put, and its encumbrance or you could put and the mortgage or its debt. Basically, very few people own a house outright, so let’s pretend that there is a mortgage like most people in America, and there is a debt against it. We’re going to put a semicolon, and we’re going to list the next thing, which will be vehicles because most people have vehicles, and just so you know, most people think, Well, I don’t have.

Any community property or why do I have to list property I don’t have any. Well, the answer is even if you don’t have a house, odds are you’ve got something, so you have vehicles. Most people have bank accounts, for example. So we’ll put that as well. Most people have household items, so you’re going to put a semicolon in miscellaneous household, furniture, furnishings and appliances. Now most people are going to have those things pots and pans, couches, refrigerators, washers, dryers this is pretty standard stuff that.

Most people have, so when they say, I don’t have any property. , most of the time I ask well, do you have things in your house and most of the time, the answer is yes. Okay, so what else do we have Let’s say there are life insurance policies. Yes, those are property, whether it’s term or whole life. We’re more concerned with whole life, which means there’s a cash surrender value, but the term life insurance policies could have a value. What else We have retirement accounts. Yes, retirement accounts are considered property. If there.

Were stock plans, we’d put that down that’s all property, and let’s say that there’s also credit card debt, so that is a debt or an encumbrance, and that’s something that also needs to be listed because it needs to be divided at some point in time. Okay, so let’s go on to other requests. Attorney fees and costs payable by. Well, if you’re doing this on your own, and you want an attorney’s assistance, and you believe you could qualify for attorney fees, you can always put that down. In Jane’s case, she wants attorney fees, so let’s check.

11A , and who is she Again this is just like the spousal support request you have to check the right box. So Jane wants attorney fees and costs, payable by who She doesn’t want to pay them she wants him to pay them. So that means payable by John, so we check the box petitioner. So what qualifies you for attorney fees So we have 2 code sections in California that are the basis of attorney’s fees. The first would be family code section 2030, which is a needbased award. I need attorney fees because I make a lot less than.

My spouse. Or, I have less access to funds. So we look at your need for attorney fees, and the other person’s ability to pay. We want them to be about equal, so you both are going to want to need attorney fees, or perhaps both need attorney fees, but we also look at who has the better ability to pay for attorney fees. The other reason for attorney fees would be family code section 271, which I call a fine , or sanction. It’s for bad behavior. So let’s say your spouse doesn’t show up to court, or shows up to court late. Or, somebody.

Files frivolous pleadings, or things that aren’t true. That’s what the court would usually find 271 fees, so those are considered fines or sanctions, or basically things to keep you from behaving badly. Alright, so the next thing would be respondent’s former name to be restored to. You do not have to restore your maiden name if you’re wondering. Your spouse cannot require you to restore your maiden name, so if you have a wish to revert back to your maiden name or you don’t know, either way is fine. This is one of the few.

Things that I m going to say if you don’t know, just let it go. You can change your mind at any time in the divorce process. Even after the judgment is entered, you can elect to change your maiden name, or you can choose to hyphenate and there’s nothing your spouse can do about it so it’s 100 your choice. So if Jane wanted to restore her former name let’s pretend that she does, we would put Jane , and let’s say her original name was Johnson , so we’ll put Jane Johnson that’s what she wants to restore to. Alright, so.

You’re just about done with the form. You are the respondent, so you’re going to go to that first line, and you are going to type or print your name. Since we are typing, we are going to put down Jane Smith That’s actually in the date, so we’re going to put that down there that is easy to mix up, everybody misses the date. Then you are going to date it it is whatever your date is, and you’re going to sign the document. And that’s going to take you to the end of the response. If you have minor children, you.

Also need to file a 105, but this is your important document, so when you’ve been served with the petition and the summons, the summons is going to tell you that you have 30 days to respond. This is the document you need to file and serve within 30 days, and that’s to protect your rights and make sure you’re participating fully in the divorce. So we’ve just completed your response, which is FL 120, and again, this form applies to the respondent. If you are a respondent with minor children, you’ll definitely want to.

Go back and watch the tutorial on FL 105, so you can also complete your UCCJEA. The UCCJEA is required if you have minor children of your marriage. If you don’t have any minor children of your marriage, you can stop with the FL 120. You may find it very helpful to go and watch the tutorials on the other series for the petitioner, which would be FL 100 and FL 110, and the proof of service of summons, which is FL 115, and the notice and acknowledgement of receipt, which is FL 117. And that just gives you a little more of an insight and.

An more indepth understanding of what the petitioner has had to do. So, next up in our series are going to be tutorials that everybody fills out, whether you’re the petitioner or respondent, and these are called your financial disclosures, and they’re comprised of 4 different documents income and expense declaration, which is FL 150, your schedule of assets and debts, which is FL 142, declaration of disclosure, which is FL 140, and your declaration regarding service of declaration of disclosure and income and expense declaration FL 141. You might.

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