File your Petition and Summons

Once you complete your forms, you need to file them with the court and pay a filing fee of $435-$450. If you can’t afford the fee, you can ask the court to waive it. 

How to file forms with the court

  • Take your forms to the court clerk

    Go to the same courthouse you listed on your forms.

    At the courthouse, you’ll file the forms you filled out by giving the original and the copies to the clerk. If you filled out additional forms to request a temporary order, give these to the clerk as well.

    The clerk will give you a case number and stamp the forms. The court will keep the original and return the copies to you. One is for you, the other for the other parent (the respondent).

    Yes, you can file by mail. Mail the original and copies to the clerk. You need to include the filing fee (or request for fee waiver) and a self-addressed stamped envelope so the clerk can mail your copies back to you. Make sure to include enough postage. 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. You can find out if your court has online filing by visiting your court’s website. 
  • Pay a filing fee

    You’ll need to pay a fee of $435-$450 to the clerk when you file your forms. If you're also asking for temporary orders, there will be an additional fee of $60-$85.

    If you can’t afford the fee, you can ask the clerk for a fee waiver. You qualify for a fee waiver if: 

    • You receive public benefits 

    • Your income is less than a set amount

    • You can’t afford the fee and meet your basic needs  

Petition for custody and support

What's next?

Once you’ve filed the forms, the next step is to formally deliver the forms to the other person (the respondent). You need to follow a specific process to do this called serving papers.

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