How To Write A Divorce Motion Declaration And Response Best Practices | Santa Clarita

 I wanted to give some pointers if you’re looking to prepare a declaration, perhaps for a motion, maybe request for order if you’re filing for a motion or even if you’re responding to a motion.

I want to go over some of the best practices, things to avoid and things of that nature. Most of this information is things I’ve seen going to the court system and when I work at law firms, how to write the declarations, how to work with them and so forth.

You can watch the video below for more information.

First, I want to talk a little bit about the structure of your declaration, how to start if off and so forth. When you write a declaration and you are preparing this as a motion, you want to give first a little bit of background of abut your circumstance.

So maybe a short paragraph about how long have we been married, her name, the respondent’s name, if you have children and how long the marriage was and things of that matter.

If it’s a child custody or child visitation, just give a little bit of background information so the court knows a little bit about what’s going on. Then, if you’re filling on a request for order, there is specific order to the way this is drawn up.

First, you have child custody, then child visitation, child support, then spouse’s support, attorney’s fees and costs, property restraint and property control. Right now, talking about the FL-300, you can use that for your template in how you’re going to address the issue.

So, if you have child custody issues, you want to discuss in your request for order, then talk about those issues first. In doing this, it’ll flow in the same manner that the application is set up and it’ll make it much more understandable for the court and for the person you’re sending this to address.

Same thing goes if you’re filing a response to request for order, follow the same suit. Even if the other party didn’t do it correctly, go right down in the same order that it shows and is reflected on the application and you’ll be in good shape. This will keep you on task and keep you from bouncing around from ideas you had. Handle all issues regarding the child custody before moving on to the other issues.

We do assist in preparing motions, request for orders or order to show causes both for petitioners and respondents. We can do responses as well; we do them both during the marriage, we do them for paternities and we do them post judgment. We can take care of all this for you, please just give us a call.

My name is Tim Blankenship, owner of and you can reach us at 661-281-0266. Thanks for reading!


How To Serve California Divorce Papers

In this article (and video) we are discussing how to serve divorce papers in California.  This would be the next step in the divorce process in California after you have completed and filed your summons and petition.  If you have not prepared your divorce papers yet, go back to this article and watch step one on how to complete your summons and petition.

In this series of videos we are discussing how to prepare your divorce forms or going through the divorce process in its entirety per California court website, we’re essentially just going form by form and discussing each of the forms.

If you are attempting to complete your own divorce Make Sure To Use Our Automated Divorce Software or call us for our full service divorce solution where we will take care of everything for you.

In the previous video we talked about the initial forms to file for divorce, the summons and petition; we’ve also prepared videos to discuss exactly how to fill them out step-by-step.

This video is going to be discussing in serving of the forms. So, let’s take a look at the court website and look at what they consider to be step two of the divorce process which is service of the forms.

Below is a transcript of the video.

So what they’re saying here is that someone 18 or older and not the petitioner, so not you or the person who’s filed in the initial paperwork serves the paper work on the other party which is now, from here on out going to be called the respondent.

You file, or you serve rather, those documents along with a blank FL-120 form, which is a response form. Whenever you file, or whenever you serve documents, generally you’ll have to serve it with a blank copy of what they’re supposed to file in response to what you’ve filed.

We’ll talk about that in other videos. So, let’s talk about the two different forms of service. Now, when I work with clients, generally these are clients that are representing themselves; they don’t have an attorney, and they are generally uncontested matters, which means both parties are mostly in agreement or they’re going to use the court system to help them get them get through the process, either through the facilitator’s office or the mediators office.

But they’re not going to use attorneys; they’re going to kinda work it out on their own, and I’ll prepare the divorce paperwork for both parties.

So that said, there are two different types of service. The process of service of getting the forms served is what will initiate the divorce process, because technically you can file for divorce, never serve it, and the courts will never know what’s going on; so once you’ve served the forms that’s what will start the divorce process essentially, and that’s when the six-month waiting period begins.

It’s when that form is served. So it’s important that this is done correctly. I’ve spoken with clients who have gone, what they thought, all the way through the divorce process, but they never filed some of these crucial documents, so let’s talk about them now.

We’re going to talk about the FL-115. The FL-115 is the proof of service of summons. This is a specific form that you will file with the court if you are gonna have a third party serve the paperwork on your spouse.

So let’s say you filed the paperwork, got that paperwork back from the courts, now you’re going to have your adult son, or a neighbor hand this paperwork to your spouse. And so what you’ll do is that person will fill out their name and address here, phone number, okay, all the same court information is going to go on here like it did on the summons and petition on the previous videos; street address of the court, mailing address of the court, city, branch, name, you’re the petitioner, the respondent’s name.

At this point you’ll have your case number so make sure you indicate that here. And what you’re gonna say that here that you filed the Family Law petition FL-100. Summons FL-110, and a blank response, and there’s FL-120. You can get these forms online or give me a call if you have to provide it for you.

And the party who serves them, so your neighbor, adult child or whoever you have to serve this paperwork, is going to fill this out. You’re gonna hand this to them and they’re going to have the forms to your spouse, and then they’re going to type in here or hand out in here, where they were served, that is was done by a personal service, on what date at what time.

And page 2, they are going to go down here and say that that the notice of the person served was done as an individual, and the name of the person you served will go here, their address, their phone number, you’re gonna say they’re not a registered process server, due to most cases they won’t be, then they’re gonna date it, then they’re gonna sign it.

Now, this is important that this form is filed, this is not given to the other party; you’re gonna hand the divorce paperwork to your spouse, this form needs to get filed with the court to notify them that in fact, the other party has been served.

Now, in uncontested divorce cases, where let’s say you and you’re spouse are mostly in an agreement, you’re going to go forward in cooperation to the divorce process, what I like to do is attempt to do an alternate method of service, which kinda keeps things from heating up; no one like being handed paper from someone they don’t know, saying you’ve been served, which is this process here.

So, what we’re gonna discuss is this alternate method of service, called notice and acknowledgement of receipt. This is an alternate proof of service where you and the other party, so your spouse, simply sign a form acknowledging the fact that they’ve been served.

So instead of them being handed paperwork and being told they are being served divorce paperwork, you can literally, this is technically supposed to be mailed from another party, so where I’m working with both husband and wife, I’ll get the papers back from the court, I’ll mail this to the other spouse with a letter indicating that if they sign this they don’t have a process server come out, it takes money.

So you fill this out for them,and I’ll indicate the form’s again, just very similar to the other form, there’s petition, summons, and a blank response is on here. So you can send this to them, I would date this, then I’d put my name, then send this; and then the spouse being served will simply indicate the date they’ve received it, print their name and sign it.

And this, just like the other form, will be filed with the court. And this is a substitute of service; it’s just as good as serving with a process server. And again this makes it, in trying to keep it uncontested, and keeping the parties talking and cordial as they can be; it is a divorce, so there are gonna be some … this is the form we’ll be likely used.

My name is Tim Blankenship, owner of SCV Legal Doc Assist, licensed and bonded legal document preparation firm, specializing in the divorce process, and we can work with you all throughout California.

The Real Costs Of Divorce In California

Hi! My name is Tim Blankenship, owner of We’re a licensed and bonded legal document preparation service and we specialize in the divorce process.

Today, I want to answer the question of how much does a divorce cost. While this is a difficult question to answer, I did do a little bit of research to see if we could come up with some averages and I’m going to share that with you today.

When people call me, I always ask them “why are you using a paralegal types of service as oppose to hiring a law firm?”, and most of the time the answer comes down to cost.

Many of the clients that end up using my services have gone out and spoke with attorneys found out the high cost of just getting a consultation and then find out how much the cost is just to walk through the door. So I want to share some sites with you and show you some of the research that I found as far as the cost of getting a divorce in California and in the United States.

I got an article here written by a Rachel Small and this is probably one of the most recent articles I’ve found, dated September 6, 2012 and she estimates that divorce in the Unites States is reported to be approximately $15,000 on average. Now it doesn’t say whether that is per person or per divorce in total.  But here it says $15,000 where an attorney’s fees can range anywhere up you know as $500 an hour.

Another article, this gentleman in a article, answered the question of how much it cost for divorce is in California and here he estimates the cost to be $15,000 to $20,000 per person.

Another website here using a US Census Bureau Statistics of average income, household and children and so forth said that the on the low end could be $53,000 and as high as $180,000 to divorce.

Now we’ll see the $15,000 to $20,000 average per person. We can see how they came to the $50,000 low end and that could be for both sides.

One more slide I found here is on, which is interesting, but they were saying that divorce is a $28 billion year industry with an average cost of about $20,000.

So I think it’s safe to say that if you’re looking at about $20,000 to go to the divorce process if you hire an attorney and that may be per side.

Now to tell you, I’ve worked for law firms, I’ve seen folks spend lots more money than that going through a divorce process. So I will leave you with this thought—you need an attorney in two circumstances, to be represented in court and to get legal advice. Outside of that, going through the divorce process is a matter of filling out forms and filing them with the court appropriately and that’s what we do here at SCV Legal Doc Assist.

We specialize in the divorce process and we get you through the entire process, start to finish, at one affordable flat rate.

If you like more information on our services, please give us a call or visit our website for more information. I would be happy to help you out and answer any questions you may have.


California Default Divorce | You Cannot Ask For Anything On The Judgment You Did Not Request On The Petition

California Default Divorce | You Cannot Ask For Anything On The Judgment You Did Not Request On The Petition

If you are attempting to complete your own California divorce and are proceeding by way of default (Other party did not respond and is not participating) then you most likely received a rejection of your judgment when you went to enter it.

Why do I say this?  Because it seems like it is happening to everyone, and a lot.

So first, I wanted to let you know that you are not alone, if that makes you feel any better.

There are many reasons that your California default divorce can get rejected, but today we are specifically talking about the issue of asking for something on your judgment that you did not ask for on your Petition

See the slidehare below where you can see exactly what we are talking about.

Here is what it boils down to.  If you are filing a default divorce, you cannot ask for anything on the judgment that you did not request in the Petition.  More on that below the slideshare.

Let me talk a little about divorce procedure.  When you file for divorce, you will file Petition.  It let’s the court and the other party know what your “Request” are.   You will notice that the specific language of the Petition says, “Petitioner’s Requests”

So you are letting the other party know what you are requesting in the divorce.  If the other party does not have any problem with what you are requesting, then they may choose not to file a response and contest what you are requesting.

So it would not be fair if you did not request something in the Petition and then turn around and request something different or add requests you have not let the other party know about.

If you do this, the court will reject your default judgment.

If you will notice on the Judgment Reject Sheet above, it says that this person cannot ask for the child custody and visitation schedule on the judgment because it was not requested on the Petition.

This not only applies to child custody and visitation, but also to spousal support, and distribution of assets and debts.

I get at least one call a day from someone who has become completely frustrated by the process of trying to file their own default divorce in California and ask us to help wrap up their case.

We specialize in divorce in California and can help you through the divorce process whether you are just getting started, are somewhere in the middle of your divorce case or have taken it all the way to the end and had you divorce judgment rejected.

Give us a call.  We would be glad to help you out.

How To Look Up Your California Divorce Case Summary

Hi. My name is Tim Blankenship, owner of SCV Legal Doc Assist. We’re licensed and bonded legal document preparation firm, specializing in divorce.

Today I want to talk to you about your California divorce case summary. There are many instances where you want to refer to your case summary to look up what documents have been filed in regards to your divorce.

If you’re representing yourself or if you’re working with a legal document preparation firm, it’s important to check your case summary.  Anything that you file with the court, you’re going to want to ensure that that has been appropriately filed with the court, and the only way you’re able to do this is by looking at the case summary online.

We have a legal resource page with a direct link to the Los Angeles County Family Law Case summary page. All you do is click on that link for the legal resource page, go to the page summary look up and then you enter your case number.

You can use the case summary to look at what documents have been filed and this will be particularly important at the time of judgment. When you go to file your judgment, there are certain documents that need to be filed before the court will approve the judgment. They will generally look at the case summary to verify that certain documents have been filed with the court appropriately.

That said, when you submit your judgment, it’s always a good idea to print off a copy of your case summary and highlight the necessary documents, showing them that it was filed appropriately.

We are a licensed and bonded legal document preparation firm that specialized in divorce in California.  Please give us a cal for more information.

3 Easy Steps To Divorce In California

Hi. My name is Tim Blankenship. I’m the owner of SCV Legal Doc Assist and we are a licensed and bonded legal document assistant firm specializing in divorce.

Today, I want to talk to you about the three steps of the divorce process when you work with our firm. We’ve broken it down into three digestible steps because there is an enormous amount of paperwork and it can be confusing.

The first step is for us to file and serve the initial divorce documents. This would be the summons and petition and there’s some other paperwork if you have children.

After the documents are file and service are completed, the second step is to complete your financial disclosures. Both parties are required to file and serve their financial disclosures. Now, this financial disclosure of this process is one of the most unliked processes of the divorce.

This is because you have to go through all your finances before marriage, during marriage, and after separation and put it all down on paper. Most don’t find this to be a fun process at all. After that, we move into the judgment phase.

We can prepare the divorce documents, prepare the judgment, put everything on paper, as pre request, and this will be in regards to the distribution of assets and debts as well as the in-child custody, child visitation and any other language you want incorporated into the judgment.

If you have any more questions about the divorce process when you work with a paralegal firm such as ours, please give us a call or use our website to get more information.

We are headquartered in Santa Clarita, California, and can assist you with your divorce anywhere in California.  Please give us a call at 661-281-0266.

How Long Does The California Divorce Process Really Take?

How long does the California divorce process take you ask?  It is certainly a loaded question, but let’s take a look at a few answers.  I have also discussed this in my video below.  Please feel free to watch or continue reading below.

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The most common reference to this questions of how long the California divorce process takes is, “What is the fastest I can get divorced?”  This answer is easy. California has a cooling off period and says that your divorce cannot be finished until 6 months plus one day have elapsed since your spouse was served.  The purpose of this time frame is to allow the parties time to reconcile.

Imagine if you could get divorced in a day, how many people would be getting re-married!

The next common reference to how long the California divorce process takes is about the paperwork.  How long will it take to get all the paperwork done?

The divorce paperwork can be completed as fast as you can fill out the forms.  We have even completed all the paperwork in single sittings in our office where the parties are present and sign all the documents.  We just have to make sure to follow the procedure correctly as there is a certain order to  filing and serving the divorce forms.

The California divorce process can be very short or very long.  In fact, the divorce process isn’t all that difficult at all.  What makes the divorce process difficult and take a long time is the parties involved.

If you are willing to work together to get your divorce done amicably, then the process will be relatively smooth and will take only the 6 months.

If you are not cooperative and want to fight it out in court, it could take many years.

We are a licensed and bonded legal document preparation service that specializes in divorce.  We can help you anywhere in California.  Make sure to give us a call for assistance.

By Tim Blankenship

What To Do If Your California Default Divorce Is Rejected

There are a few different ways you can file for divorce.  In this article we are specifically talking about the California Default Divorce.  This can be a True Default, where the other party is not involved at all or a Hybrid Divorce, where it is a Default, but you have an agreement.

More specifically, we are discussing the how to use the Request To Enter Default form with a default style divorce because we are seeing that people are having difficulty understanding how to use the form and when to submit it to the court.

Watch this quick video where I discuss what to do if your Request to Enter Default is rejected during your California divorce.

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If you are doing a true California default divorce, where the other party is not going to participate at all, you can file the Request to enter default form 30 days after the other party has been served.

But did you know that you can also submit your entire divorce judgment as well at the same time?

You sure can!

Most people think that they have to submit the request to enter default first, and then wait the 4-8 weeks or longer to see if it is approved before filing their judgment.  This is not necessary.

All you need to do is submit your entire California divorce judgment papers along with the Request To Enter Default forms.

When you are submitting a request to enter default for your California divorce, you may have to attach the FL-160’s (Property Declarations) if you have property.  Don’t forget, you need 2 sets of forms.  Once for community property and one for separate property.

We recommend you do one of each, even if there is no property, so the court knows that to be the case and don’t think you just forgot to do the forms.

Make sure to watch the video above, where I go into a little bit more detail about the Request to Enter Default and specifically about what you can do if your request to enter default is rejected during the California divorce process.

By Tim Blankenship

How To Receive Free Money For College When Going Through Divorce Or Already Divorced

We handle a lot of divorce cases in California and with that comes other potential issues to think about.

One of those issues to consider is college planning!

So I asked to the owner of College Planning Experts, Brian Safdari, to address some of these questions you may have when going through a divorce.

How To Receive Free Money For College If You Are Going Through A Divorce Or Already Divorced

Written By: Brian Safdari

The daunting task of submitting and applying for Financial Aid for college can be an overwhelming chore to say the least. Now imagine if you and your family find
yourselves in a divorced situation. That’s right; it just got 3 times more confusing.  Numerous questions may be swirling in your head: Which parent do we file under.  Do the schools want both parents’ information? Do we have to provide EVERYTHING?

The questions can go on and on.

The good news is that in a divorce situation, you may just have many options in order to receive the most amount in financial aid, assuming you spend some time “planning” and gathering information from a credible source.

First things first are the forms used to apply for financial aid; the FAFSA and CSS Profile. These are the financial aid forms that most state and private schools use to determine financial aid eligibility. From your forms, you will receive a number called your EFC or expected family contribution. This number is used to determine your need. The way a school determines your need is they use your EFC and plug it into the  formula Cost of Attendance (The sticker price to attend college including everything) – EFC (Expected Family Contribution (A number that reflects the amount schools think you a can afford) = Need. Our goal is to reduce your EFC to increase your need. The higher your need, the higher your grants and scholarships.

Now, here come the questions; do you know how FAFSA requires what to list about a divorce family? Do you know legally and ethically how to give them the information but not divulge more than what they need in order to get more free money for college? For example, if you are attending a public university, depending on the specific college, you may be able to submit your financial aid form with one parent. You need to dig deep and know the specific strategies regarding their “non-custodial” rules. We had a student attending a public school that the rule was “Who does the student live with 51% of the time”? In this specific situation, we had the student 51% with the lower income and asset family and we were able to receive 26,000 in grants at UCLA, leaving the family with a total cost of $9,000 per year. No too bad, huh?

Another thing to keep in mind is that since colleges are businesses, they want to have you pay as much as possible for college. Also, we know that FAFSA and other Financial Aid forms have a high error rate. Avoiding mistakes and strategically planning will allow you to make college affordable without going broke.

There are three pillars in the college planning process. How to market and position your child to get accepted into the college of their choice. You will be shocked that colleges are not accepting students based on grades and test scores alone, but a big part is what makes your child “unique”. There are specific formulas to implement to increase your chances in getting accepted, even with a low grade point average (GPA). Pillar number 2 is get the most financial aid possible by understanding the financial aid formula we briefly talked about (COA-EFC = Need). All income level families can receive financial aid if you know how to utilize the financial aid formulas. Pillar number 3 is funding college. How are you going to pay your share for college? How much can you afford monthly? What type of loans and resources are available to ensure you don’t have to sacrifice using all your savings or jeopardizing your retirement?

Brian Safdari, Founder & CEO, College Planning Experts

Brian Safdari, founder and CEO of made costly mistakes that cost him over $53,000 in student loan debt unknowingly and unnecessarily and attended his least desired college. After the mistakes he made, he devoted his life to share the truth about the higher education system and how to legally and ethically take control of the process in order to send kids into the college of their dreams and ensure the parent do not go broke.

If you’d like help navigating through this difficult and complicated process and want your questions answered, call us at College Planning Experts today to sign up for an College Planning Analysis. We can help you find out how to save thousands on college! This will be one of the wisest financial decisions you’ve ever made. Call us at (661) 295-9946 or visit our website at Please make sure you reference “Tim Blankenship” as we have a special gift for you.

Get in touch with Tim Blankenship on Google+

Santa Clarita Divorce Service | Interview With Tim Blankenship

We just wrapped up a live interview on Google + Hangouts on Air with Connor MacIvor, local Santa Clarita Realtor and Tim Blankenship, the owner of SCV Legal Doc Assist known as

The interview was mostly about our business here and Connor is always such a good host, which makes the interview process seamless.

We spoke mostly a about divorce and the types of divorce cases we are able to handle.  The interview was recorded which you can view below.

Here is a breakdown of what was discussed in the interview.

  • Who we are and what kind of divorce cases we can handle.
  • That we can handle divorce cases anywhere in California.
  • How we save folks money on their divorce.
  • Why people fire their divorce attorney so we can wrap up their divorce case
  • How we provide tons of information on our website
  • About the 100’s of divorce videos we have produced
  • and much more…

The video is only about 15 minutes and I personally have watched it and it went really well.  It would give you some insights into our business and about the owner.

I really liked the format of Google’s Hangouts On Air because depending on who is speaking, the screen will change to show that person. I also liked that you could put up what Google calls a “lower third” which allows you to show your name and any other information you want to put o there such as a phone number or website.

If you are interested in us interviewing you and you have a business that somehow ties into divorce, please give us a call.  This could be a divorce mediation firm, divorce attorney, real estate agent, bankruptcy attorney, financial planner, etc.

Get in touch with Tim Blankenship on Google+