Responding to an Order to Show Cause for Child Support or Custody
Order to Show Cause (OSC) PacketChose this link: http://www.sdcourt.ca.gov/pls/portal/docs/PAGE/SDCOURT/GENERALINFORMATION/FORMS/FAMILYANDCHILDRENFORMS/PKT015.PDF
It brings you to the courts reference for responding to an OSC. The first page has a checklist of everything you will need to do an fill out. Forms must be filed with the clerk and served on the opposing party TWO WEEKS before the court date. Failure to file and serve by this time will be grounds to not have your response admitted to the court.
Read through this packet to get a general understanding. The remainder of this guide will be much more informative if you do this reading first.
Also, PLEASE NOTE, many of these forms are fillable online. HOWEVER, they do not save unless you save the blank form on to your computer files, open the blank form from you personal files and fill it from there. Even if you are able to use this route CAUTION any boxes that need to be check WILL NOT save. So, always look over your form and double check.
Responsive Declaration to OSCJudicial Counsel Form #FL-320 - Responsive Declaration to OSC
When you were served you should have received a copy of Judicial Counsel Form #FL-300 (Order to Show Cause). That form puts forth all the general requests that the other party is making. The response has the same categories listed. You have an option to agree or disagree with the request. Check the boxes accordingly. If you disagree, there is a space provided to put forth an order you would agree with. If there is a current order you wish to stay in place then reference that order by Judge and date. If there is something different you would prefer make a short statement addressing the outcome you wish for and why. Make sure to sign and date this form.
NOTE: You can only address those sections that were brought up in the request. If you have more matters you would like the court to hear, file a request for OSC and ask the court to hear those matters either as a companion issue or in a separate hearing.
Declaration/Attached DeclarationIn my opinion, the declaration or attached declaration is the MOST IMPORTANT portion of your response. There is a space on the above mentioned FL-320 form for a declaration. I suggest putting your declaration on Judicial Counsel Form MC-030/MC-031 so you have enough space to present everything you need to. See link: http://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/mc031.pdf
Consider the points you would like to bring up. Do your best to avoid small issues. Instead focus on the bigger picture. Keep two things in mind. (1) There must be a "change in circumstance" for a family court order to be changed; and (2) What you are asking is in the "best interest" of the child. The other side must prove this. Once you have your points organized in a concise manner, number each on on the declaration so the court can read through your declaration easier and get straight to the point.
NOTE: Your declaration is under PENALTY OF PERJURY, make sure that it is the truth to the best of your knowledge
Income and Expense DeclarationFill this form out: http://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/fl150.pdf. Make sure to include your last TWO MONTHS PAY STUBS. People always forget this.
This form is easier than the others because it asks specific questions that have a specific answer. If one question does not apply to you then simply leave it blank.
Again this form is also made under penalty of perjury. As such put information that is accurate and true. Do not try to fudge your financial situation because there absolutely are ways for the court to find out the truth of the matter.
Evidence/Exhibits/AttachmentsIf there is evidence, exhibits, or attachments you would like to include in your response make sure to properly submit them. My suggestion is to title these things as "attachments" (i.e. Attachment "A", Attachment "B", etc). There is a strange rule about "Exhibits" where the court will only take them 10 days before the matter is to be heard and they need to be filed under a "Notice of Lodgment of Exhibits". Again, the loophole is to simply make them "Attachments".
Always mark your attachments numerical or alphabetically starting with either "1" or "A". Mark the attachment according. If there is more than one page to a particular attachment then mark each page as follows: Attachment "A" page 1 of ___ (however many total pages).
Refer to these attachments in your declaration so the court knows why they are included. That is, make a point in your declaration and as support for that point state (See attachment "A", page ___). This helps the court a lot!
Filing with the CourtFirst make two copies of all the documents above, and separate all documents into three groups. BRING ORIGINALS AND TWO COPIES TO COURT FOR FILING. The first group will be the originals. These will be submitted to the filing clerk. Hand the clerk your two copies. The clerk will stamp each necessary document. Go to the Court where your matter will be heard. File. NOTE: be prepared to wait for approximately one hour to file.
One conformed copy is for your own personal records. The second needs to be sent to the opposing party with a proof of service certificate.
Proof of Service Mail and PersonalNOTE: this is the part that most pro per litigants fail to do. IT IS IMPORTANT!!!
Refer to the OSC packet linked in the first section of this guide. Generally, if you are making a response to child custody or child support then service by mail is sufficient. Print out FL-335: http://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/fl335.pdf. Include an unsigned copy with the papers you send to the opposing party.
You must have someone other than yourself serve the papers. As stated, this is service by mail. You can make it very easy for the other person. Fill out everything you can on the proof of service form. Provide the person with a pre-addressed and stamped envelope (make sure you have proper postage) and have the person sign only one copy. The signed copy can be dropped off in the court. You do not need to wait to file it, there will be a box/bin to drop off the proof of service by mail. Time stamp it before drop (machine located next to the drop box that time stamps your paper).