Divorce Forms in Ca (PowerPoint) by rmd73258


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									Self-Help Divorce Workshop Series

            Presented by:
       Michelle C. Hopkins, Esq.
      Los Angeles Superior Court
           March 17, 2006
        The Self-Help Model
• Court-based self-help three-part
  dissolution workshop series.
• Legal advice model developed by The
  Harriett Buhai Center for Family Law.
• Self-Help model piloted in Los Angeles
  Superior Court in 2003 by LASC Self-Help
  Collaboration Project with the Family Law
  Information Center.
        The Self-Help Series
• Workshop 1: Litigant prepares, files and
  serves initial forms to start divorce case.
• Workshop 2: 45 days after Workshop 1,
  litigant prepares Declaration of Disclosure,
  Property Declarations and Request to
  Enter Default.
• Workshop 3: 30-40 after Workshop 2,
  litigant prepares Judgment Forms.
   Getting Started: Advertising
• Only Workshop 1 is advertised to the
• Informational flyers posted and distributed
  by court clerks, FLIC, legal services
  agencies, and posted on LASC website.
• District courts provide flyers with divorce
  starter packets.
• Clerks refer litigants to the Workshop 1.
       Pre-Screening Issues
• Workshop 1 is offered on a first come, first
  served basis.
• Pre-screening: litigants who want to initiate
  a divorce case in Los Angeles County or
  prepare a Response to a divorce case
  filed in Los Angeles County.
• Workshop 2 is not advertised. After
  Workshop 1 litigants are provided with a
  “ticket” to the next class.
             Workshop Setting
• Classroom environment. Ideal Size: 8-10 litigants.
• Ideal Staff: workshop presenter and 2-3 assistants.
• Los Angeles Model uses JusticeCorps students as
  trained volunteer assistants.
• Judicial Council forms enlarged to chart size and
  presented to the group.
• All common forms presented first. Keep all litigants on
  the same form.
• Allow questions during presentation. Repeat questions to
  the group.
        Workshop Materials
• Litigants provided with a folder containing
  Divorce Overview, Proof of Service of
  Summons, forms packet and blank
• Additional Judicial Council forms and
  handouts regarding California law
  distributed during presentation.
• Ticket to Workshop 2 distributed at the
  conclusion of Workshop 1.
     Explaining the “Big Picture”:
       The Divorce Overview
• A visual roadmap to the divorce process.
• Explain litigant’s role and responsibility in
  the process.
• Explain options for completing the process
  if Default or Response.
• Educate re: TROs and temporary orders.
• Explain court resources: FLF, Mediation
• Explain the spectrum of legal services
  available to self represented litigants.
Workshop 1: The Forms Packet
• Summons, Case Cover, Petition, Property
  Declarations, Proof of Service, Fee Waiver
  and UCCJEA.
• Explain the purpose of each form.
• Provide additional information and answer
  questions during presentation of forms.
• Proactive approach: address the common
  myths that arise with each form.
       Petition for Dissolution
• What is the purpose of the form?
• Respondent can disagree with you.
• Tools used during presentation:
• Provide visual explanations of complex
  concepts. (Charts, white board, handouts).
• Buhai’s Community vs. Separate Property
  handout for characterizing property.
• An “inventory tool”: Harry Jacob’s Worksheet for
  FL-160 Property Declaration.
            Quality Control
• Attorney present at all times.
• Questions answered during presentation.
• Trained volunteer assistants available for
  litigants during presentation.
• After group presentation: 1:1 forms review
  with litigants and JusticeCorps.
• Final document review by Attorney.
       Ticket to Workshop 2
• Litigants given Ticket to Workshop Two
  with specific return date and homework.
• Homework: bring paycheck stubs, specific
  money values of assets and debts, and
  complete income worksheets.
• All litigants encouraged to return to next
  workshop whether or not filing and service
                 Workshop 2
• Same group of litigants return together as a
• Print out case summaries to check on status.
• All returning litigants participate whether Default
  or Response filed.
• Tool for calculating income: Worksheet for
  average monthly income.
• Review the divorce overview: type of cases
  (Default or Response) and options for
  completing those types of cases.
               Workshop 3
• After Workshop 2 litigants given Ticket to
  Workshop 3 with specific information needed for
• Printout case summaries and explain options for
  completion of case.
• All Judgment forms completed as a group then
  smaller groups or 1:1 assistance depending on
  the issues.
• Tools: Checklist for preparation of Judgment
  forms with specific referrals if Judgment
 Innovative Technology: Creating a
          Hybrid Workshop
• AOC Attorney Harry Jacobs has developed a
  Hot Docs computer program to be used with the
  live workshops.
• After a short initial interview with litigant,
  computer program generates all forms need for
  workshop with many fields completed.
• Hybrid concept: integrate Hots Docs program
  with the live workshop presentation to generate
  legible, accurate forms and to provide more time
  for detailed explanations of California
  substantive law and procedures.

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