About half the time when people call me they have tried to handle their own divorce case and got hung up and had their divorce judgment or other documents rejected by the courts.
The below is an email I sent to a client after reviewing their divorce paperwork which had been rejected by the court. While the court only cited 1 or 2 issues, upon my review, I found the following major issues with her case.
The reason this happens is because the clerks, when they see it is prepared by the parties themselves, look for only 1 or 2 issues and don’t review the entire case. This is why people end up getting their divorce judgment rejected multiple times, each time for different reasons.
I want to preface this email with saying don’t take anything the wrong way (sometimes I hate email). There was no way you guys would know not to make the mistakes that were made. Some may require a hearing with the court. I will explain everything in detail so you understand the issues and challenges.
First, I have to redo every single form. The only form I did not redo was the petition and that is because it was already amended and you only get one amendment, otherwise I would be amending that form as well.
Second, when the Amended petition was filed, it was filed by itself. When you amend the Petition you also have to file an amended Summons and an amended UCCJEA (FL-105) even if there are no changes to them. (Again, you would not know this… And remember our conversation about the courts not being helpful)
2 problems here. Number one is the original petition listed your names as first, middle and last. The amended Petition only had first and last names. This needed to remain the same. I cannot file another amended petition without filing a motion to get you a court date to get approval for the additional amendment. Number two is aforementioned issue of not filing the amended FL-105 and summons with the Amended Petition.
So, I am going to file the FL-105 and Summons and attempt to file them. I say attempt because they were supposed to be all filed together. If they don’t allow this, motion will need to be filed. (NEEDED SIGNATURES) ** Please have XXXX sign the FL-105 and fax or scan back to me. This is the first order of business.
Third, and you really won’t like this unless you’re not in a hurry to finish the divorce. Because an amended Petition was filed it would have had to be re-served. Because the FL-105 and Summons were not filed with it, even if it was served would be bad service.
SO, if the court allows us to file the FL-105 and Summons, service cannot occur until those have been filed. Therefore, we are starting over from the very beginning.
Forth, I need you to also complete and income and expense declaration. I have attached above and will also need 2 months of paystubs. I will also need 2 months of pay stubs from XXXX as well.
As you can see there was much more to fix than what the reject sheet said. This is very common. Even with the way I am trying to do this may not work. The correct way would be to file a motion with the court, get a court date in 2 months (soonest) get the approval for the 2nd amended Petition, file that, get it served and then 30 days later, file the judgment. In the interest of time, I want to spare those 2 months and once the FL-105 and Summons are filed, I can have you sign a notice of acknowledgment of receipt of the petition (attached as well which will count as me serving you) wait 30 days and turn in your judgment.