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Step 2:  File Your Court Forms

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'Filing your court forms' means mailing or taking the forms to the courthouse and giving them to a court clerk. The clerk will put the original forms in the file for this court case, then stamp the photocopies and return them to the person doing the filing. 
Here's how to do it.

After you have done Step 1, (get and fill in the 'Response' and possibly other court forms you need), then --

Call the courthouse where the Petition was filed and ask three questions:

1. Ask how many photocopies of the forms this court would like.

2. Ask how much money it will cost to file the forms, and

3. Ask how the fees can be paid.

For help in finding the courthouse where the Petition was filed click here. Opens new window

File your court forms:

When you think your forms have been filled out correctly and completely, make the required number of photocopies of each form and any attachments. You will have to pay a fee when you file these forms.

You will have to pay a filing fee. You can call the clerk's office before you go to find out  the fee, and how you can pay.

  • For information on filing fees in California, click here Opens new window
  • If you cannot afford the filing fees, there are forms, called "Fee Waiver" forms, you may file to ask if the judge will allow you to pay less or nothing at all, click here.

You can file your court forms in one of three ways:

  • In person  (By visiting the courthouse, handing the forms to the clerk yourself and paying the appropriate filing fee)
  • By mail  (Note: this process can be slower than filing in person if you have made big mistakes in completing the forms.)
  • By hiring a forms filing service  (For a fee, some companies will take your forms to the courthouse and make sure they are filed and that the filing fees are paid.)

Once the court clerk Opens new window has your forms and filing fees, he or she will:

  • Keep the original copy of the Response to put in the court file and stamp all photocopies of it (and any other forms).
  • Give you two (or more) sets of forms and attachments. (You will keep one set of forms, and you will have the second set of forms served Opens new window on your spouse or partner.)

PLEASE REMEMBER:  You must file your Response with the court within 30 days of the date you were served with the court papers.

Now you need to "serve" your court papers. For information on how to do this click here.

 

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