Ask for temporary spousal support
As soon as a case is filed, you can ask the court to order temporary spousal support (or temporary domestic partner support). If at any point your financial situation changes, you can ask the court to change the amount of support. You will need to show the judge what changed.
Use different instructions to change a long-term spousal support order. Long-term spousal support is support that is ordered after a divorce is final (there's a judgment). There are different forms and rules you need to follow to change a long-term spousal support order.
Before you start
You can use these instructions to ask for a temporary spousal support order
When you ask for temporary spousal support or to change support, you tell the court the amount of support you'd like it to order. If you need help figuring out how much to ask for, consider these resources:
- Learn some basics about temporary spousal support
- Get help from a Self-Help Center or Family Law Facilitator in your court
A Family Law Facilitator or Self-Help Center may be able to explain support or even help you calculate the amount of temporary support that the court would likely order.
How to ask for spousal support
Fill out the Request for Order form
Request for Order (form FL-300)
Use this form to tell the court:
What order you want
Why it should order that way
For spousal support, use item 4 on page 3, and “Facts to Support” (item 10 on page 4).Item 10, “Facts to Support,” on Page 4 asks you to explain why the court should order what you requested. If there's already a support order and you want the amount changed, explain what changed since the judge made the last order. Write down the facts, not just opinions, that support what you’re telling the court.
For example, add up your monthly expenses and how much money you make each month. Write how much more money you need each month to pay your expenses.
If you need more space, check the box that says “Attachment 10.” You can use Attached Declaration (form MC-031).The Petitioner is the person who started the family law case initially. The Respondent is the other spouse or domestic partner. For example, if you are filing this Request for Order but the other spouse or partner was the one who started the case at the very beginning, you are the Respondent.
Fill out the Income and Expense Declaration
Income and Expense Declaration (form FL-150). This form asks how much money you earn and how you spend your money.
- Attach proof of your income (like paystubs) from the past two months to the form.
- Do not attach a copy of your last year’s taxes. Bring a copy (if you have one) to the hearing.
Attach documents to support your case
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 at the hearing.
- Documents might include a receipt, bill, or letter from your employer
- 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 any 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 fee, 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 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.
Temporary Spousal Support
Once you’ve filed the forms, the next step is to serve your spouse.
Before or after you served the papers, you can start to prepare for your court date.