We have been preparing a lot of divorce motions (Request for Orders) as well as Responses to Request for Orders.
People come to us to assist them with completing the paperwork and writing their declaration in support of their argument on why the court should approve request they are making.
We thought we would write about the process of preparing your declaration to perhaps give some pointers. There is no exact way to write a declaration but there are some best practices. We will share what we have learned having worked for family law firms and the divorce courts and what we see most commonly in the declarations.
First, lets talk about the structure of your declaration. In most cases, if you are preparing a motion, you will want to start you declaration by giving some background information about the current situation. For instance, you may say “we have been married for 3 years and have 1 child together” You could provide as much background that makes sense to set up the declaration to follow.
You will notice that the Request For Order has several issues you can address. Your declaration should follow the same order as the issues are listed on the Request For Order form. This will help give good structure to the declaration, keep your ideas in order and make it easier for the judge to read.
The next thing to think of is how you want your declaration to read. You have to watch out for the tone that comes across. Is it attacking, threatening or blaming. I have read declarations that have all of these. Most of the time, declarations that have these elements in them are written by attorneys who are setting the stage to really stir things up. Other times, they are true and completely necessary.
It is a good practice to stick to the facts and avoid allowing emotion to show through in your writing. The courts don’t really care about how you feel, etc. They just need the fact so they can make a decision. Adding unnecessary information may do more harm than good.
When we prepare declarations for folks, we will usually ask you to prepare a list of facts in support of your request. We will then draft the declaration and then give to you for approval and changes. By us writing the declaration, no emotion will be entered into the text and the facts will be presented in a clear fashion.
Our clients have been very happy with the declarations we write for their motions for divorce. If you need to file a motion or respond to a motion, please give us a call.