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Home Courts By District 17th Judicial District Frequently Asked Questions
Home Courts By District 17th Judicial District Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions
The court staff's answers to common domestic case questions

Marriage Questions

·         What is the difference between Legal Separation, Divorce & Invalidity (annulment)?

·         What is the time frame to get an annulment?

·         Do I have to file for divorce if I am common law married, and how do I know if I am common law married?


Divorce Questions

·         I want to file for divorce right away. What is required to get my case started?

·         The other party refuses to sign the paperwork.  Can I file on my own? 

·         After I file my first forms, when do I need to have all of my other forms submitted by?

·         Why can’t I get divorced right away? We haven’t been together for over 10 years?

·         If we agree on everything, and sign the petition together, do we have to appear in court?

·         Do I have to submit all of the forms like the Separation Agreement and Sworn Financial Statement even if we agree on everything, and/or have nothing to divide, and/or I haven’t seen the other party in 10 years? 

·         When I am divorced will the court notify me, and do I need a copy of my divorce decree?


Initial Status Conference Questions

·         What happens in the Initial Status Conference (ISC) and what is it?

·         Do both parties have to appear at the Initial Status Conference? 

·         What if I need to change the date of my initial status conference or am unable to attend in person?


Protection Orders Questions

·         How do I obtain a restraining order?

·         What if there is a restraining order between me and the other party?


Child Support & Custody Questions

·         What if I only want to file for child support?

·         If I am married and not ready to file a divorce can I just file for custody?

·         How do I file for temporary custody of my children?

·         Do I need to file for custody of my children separately?

·         If I am a minor, and want to file for custody of my children, can I fill out and file the papers myself?

·         Why do I have to take a parenting class?


Service of Process Questions

·         What is “service”? How do I perform a service of process?

·         What do I do if I attempt to serve the other party, but they cannot be found?

·         How do I perform service on a Child, Including a Parent who is under eighteen years old?

·         What if I’m serving a business entity, not an individual?


 Questions about: Filing, Forms, and Information Access

·         What does it mean when the clerk tells me that I must submit documents/forms using the “mandatory caption”?

·         How do I keep my address and phone number confidential on my court documents?

·         How do I get and emergency hearing?


Payment Questions

·         What if I am unable to pay the filing fees for my case?


Legal Representation Questions

·         Can an attorney be provided for me  by the court, or can I request a court-appointed attorney?

·         If I give someone a Power of Attorney to handle my legal matters can they appear in court for me and sign court documents on my behalf?


Understanding the People in the Legal System

·         What’s the difference between a Judge and a magistrate?

·         What is a Family Court Facilitator, and what do they do?

·         What is a Child and Family Investigator (CFI)


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