Ask for control of property

When a couple legally separates or divorces, the court may order that one spouse (or domestic partner) gets control of property or pay certain bills while the divorce is on-going. This is called property control

What is property control?

  • Who has the sole right to use something 

  • Who has the responsibility of paying the bills for something 

This is a common request when spouses can’t agree on who lives in their home or uses the car during the divorce. Sometimes, they may need a judge to decide who pays a bill.

For example, if one spouse is the only one using something, you can request they cover any payments for the use. If you have a home business, you may have many decisions that need to be made. 

A decision about property control is temporary 

When you finish your divorce, you will need to either agree or have the court decide what to do long-term.

It does not mean that person gets to keep the car, live in the house, or pay that bill forever.

For example, a judge could decide you use the car now. But, at the end of the divorce you may need to sell it and split the money. 

How to ask for control of property

  • Fill out the Request for Order form

    A person filling out a form.

    Use the Request for Order (form FL-300). Use this form to tell the court: 

    • What you want it to order  

    • Why it should order that way 

    For property control, use item 5 on Page 3.  Item 5 asks you to attach a form explaining why the court should order what you asked. Step 2 explains how to do this. 

    The Petitioner is the person who started the family law case initially. The Respondent is the one who filed the Response to the Petition for divorce or legal separation. For example, if you are filing this Request for Order but the other spouse or domestic partner was the one who started the case at the very beginning, you are the Respondent. This stays the same for the rest of the case.


    Use the same form to ask for other orders. 

    For example, if you also need a spousal support order, you may be able to use the same form to ask for property control and spousal support order. This saves you a filing fee. And, the court can decide both issues at the same time or schedule a new court date, if needed. Read about the other type of order to be sure you can ask for the order in this case.
  • Write why you need the court to make this order

    To complete item 5 on the Request for Order (form FL-300), you need to complete an attachment.  

    Use the Attached Declaration (form MC-031).  

    • Write “Attachment 5d” under the box that says Declaration  

    • Explain why you need the court to order that you have control of property or your spouse should pay a bill

    • Sign and date the form 

  • Attach documents to support your case

    illustration of gathering documentation

    Sometimes it's important to have documents that support your case. If you have any, you can attach or file these with your request so the judge can consider them on your court date.

    • Examples of documents to support your case may include things like receipts or bills
    • Black out any private information like a Social Security number or account numbers
    • If there is a witness (someone who saw or personally knows something), you can ask them to write and sign a statement that says what they know. Learn more about witness statements.

    If you don't have these ready now, you can file them later.

  • Make copies of your forms

    After you’ve filled out, signed, and dated both forms, make 2 copies of the forms and attachments.  

  • 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. For example, if you’re also asking to change child custody or visitation. If you can't afford the fees, you can ask for a fee waiver.

    If these are the first papers you’ve filed in the case, there will be a $435-$450 “first paper” filing fee. If you can't afford the fee, you can ask for a fee waiver


    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 with sufficient postage 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.  

property control

What's next?

Once you’ve filed the forms, the next step is to serve your spouse or domestic partner. 


Before or after you served the papers, you can start to prepare for your court date. 

success alert banner:

Have a question about Request for Order?

Look for a "Chat Now" button in the right bottom corner of your screen. If you don’t see it, disable any pop-up/ad blockers on your browser.