During a Spousal or Partner Support Court Case

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If you are being asked to pay spousal or partner support you should know:

1. If you have been served Opens new window with papers that ask the court to order you to pay spousal or partner support, you need to respond.

  • Even if you are willing to pay spousal or partner support, it would be better if you took part in the decisions that are going to be made about your future.

2. If there is a court hearing Opens new window scheduled, it is also important that you show up at the courthouse.

  • The date and time of the hearing will be listed on the papers you were served.
  • Remember you can get help from the Family Law Facilitator Opens new window or others.

What to do if you have been served with papers asking for spousal or partner support:

1. Read the “Petition,” "Order to Show Cause", or other papers you received carefully.

  • If you AGREE to pay spousal or partner support, you and your former spouse or partner can agree (stipulate) Opens new window to the amount and arrangements for these payments. The court must approve your agreements.
  • If you DO NOT AGREE about the amount of support that should be paid, you can let the court know this in your response papers.
NOTE: You cannot ask the court to do anything in your response papers. You can only respond to whatever your former spouse or partner has requested. If you want to make a request to the court yourself, you will have to file your own Request for Order (Form FL-300). Opens new window Visit the Family Law Facilitator’s office for help in making your request.

2. Get basic information about spousal or partner support cases.

3. Answer the court papers. When someone is sued they get a chance to tell their side of the story to the court. The way to do this is to fill out and file court papers that show how you want to "answer" Opens new window the complaint (or lawsuit).

Each of the steps listed below is important. Make sure you follow each step in the process, and that you finish each step in the order it is listed.

Step 1: Get your court forms

Step 2: File your papers at court

Step 3: Give the other party copies

Step 4: Tell the court copies given

Step 5: Exchange final information
Agreeing or needing a judge
Step 6: Prepare a week before court


At any time, you can:

  • Read answers for Frequently Asked Questions about spousal or partner support.
  • Read some general information about How Courts Work, click here. Opens new
  • Watch some videos with general information about how California's court system works, click here. Opens new
  • Watch some short videos with information on "Paperwork Basics" (forms), "Service of Process" and "Tips on Going to Court", click here. Opens new window



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