In most marriages, one spouse makes more than the other. Sometimes though, this disparity can be so great that one spouse may fear poverty if they ask for a divorce. But, a spousal or partner support order can be ordered in a divorce or legal separation case, and even in a domestic violence restraining order case. The key is the court has options to keep spouses from destitution when decoupling.
If one needs alimony, ask for it. If one does not ask for it, they will not get it. And, remember, it can be ordered while the family court is still presiding over the case, before final judgment. The process is fairly straight forward.
The usual way to request support, temporary or otherwise, is to ask the court. First, fill out the required forms. These include Request for Order (Form FL-300), including the Income and Expense Declaration (Form FL-150). The family court’s family law facilitator can review this paperwork.
Next, make two copies of these forms, one for the filer and another for the non-filing spouse or partner. The original version of the form is submitted to the court, which should be filed with the court clerk.
At that point, the filer will need to pay the filing fee, unless a fee waiver is requested by one who cannot afford it. The court clerk will stamp the documents, give a court date, and write this information on the FL-300.
The non-filing spouse will next need to be served with the copy, including a blank Responsive Declaration to Request for Order (Form FL-320) and blank Income and Expense Declaration (Form FL-150P). The filing spouse cannot serve these papers though, and they must be served at least 16 court days before the court date on the form. This can sometimes be done by mail, but ask the family law facilitator to be sure.
Once service completed, the server must fill out a Proof of Service (Form FL-330). This must be filed with the court. If the service was done through mail, a Proof of Service by Mail (Form FL-335) is needed.
In California, residents are lucky because the family law facilitator can help in this process, but the courts still recommend a family law attorney. This is a professional that can ensure the process is completed correctly, and someone that can ensure one’s rights are protected.