Ask the judge to set aside a family law order
To ask the judge to set aside the order, you will need to fill out and file forms with the court. You'll need to include the legal reason why the judge should set aside the order and explain what happened.
Before you start
Talk to your court's Self-Help Center staff
Your court's Self-Help Center may have samples or a template you can look at to see what type of information you need to include in your request.
In general, you will need to include
- What happened (the facts)
- What the law says about this issue
- How that law supports what you're asking the judge to do.
You can often write this in an attachment to your court forms.
Sometimes, the judge will want to see this in a more formal way, in a Memorandum of Points and Authorities. Ask your court's Self-Help staff if this is typically required in cases like yours.
Fill out forms
Fill out the Request for Order (form FL-300)
- Check the "other" box and write in "Set aside order" or "Set aside default judgment" depending on what you want the judge to cancel.
You will need to complete item 8 on page 4, and “Facts to Support” (item 10 on page 4). This is where you'll write why the judge should set aside the order. Get information on how to do this in the next step.The Petitioner is the person who started the family law case initially. The Respondent is the other spouse or parent. For example, if you are filing this Request for Order but the other person was the one who started the case at the very beginning, you are the Respondent.
Write out legal reasons and facts
You must write out what happened and the legal reason why the judge should set aside the order.
Write what law supports your request
In item 8 on page 4, write "see attachment". Then you can write down what you want the judge to do and what law supports your request on Declaration (form MC-030). Title the Declaration "Attachment to Item 8".Write down the exact law that supports why the judge should set aside the order in your case. You can find some of the laws (the Code sections) in the Legal reasons to set aside an order.
Write a Declaration about what happened
In item 10 on page 4, write "see attachment". Then you can write down what happened, just the facts, in Declaration (form MC-030). Title the Declaration "Attachment to Item 10".Your Declaration needs to include all the facts the judge needs to see how what happened fits what the law says.
Include a proposed response
If you are asking to set aside a default judgment or an order where you never filed a response, you should include a proposed response. If the judge decides to set aside the judgment or order, then the judge will order that your proposed response becomes the official response (it gets filed).
For example, if you are asking to set aside a default judgment in a divorce case, you would fill out and attach a Response - Marriage/Domestic Partnership (form Fl-120).
Make copies and file your request
Make 2 copies of everything. The original is for the court. The copies are for you and the other side.
File your forms
To file your forms with the court:
Give the original and the 2 copies to the court clerk
Pay a $60 fee (unless you’ve gotten a fee waiver)
There may be other fees. If you can't afford the fee, you can ask for a fee waiver.Fee waivers expire at the end of case (when a judgment is filed). You will need to ask for another one if your last one expired.
The clerk will:
Stamp the forms
Write a hearing date on the Request for Order form
Keep the original form and return the copies to you
A judge will make a decision about your request at the hearing.
Yes, you can file by mail. Mail your original and 2 copies to the clerk. You need to include the filing fee and a self-addressed stamped envelope so the clerk can mail your copies back to you. If you do not include a self-addressed, stamped envelope you will have to go to the courthouse to pick up your copies.
Some courts allow online filing (called e-file). You can find out if your court has online filing by visiting your court’s website.
After you file the forms, your next step is to have someone, not you, deliver (serve) them to your spouse or child's other parent.
Before or after your papers are served, you can start to prepare for your court date.