What we learned from more than 126,000 California Judicial Council Forms drafted on Lawyaw

Since we started Lawyaw in 2016, attorneys have used our software to fill and file more than 126,000 California Judicial Council forms and court forms. All this activity has taught us a lot about how family law attorneys use our software to more efficiently draft their documents.

For this post, we looked up what the most frequently used California Judicial Council forms for family law were, then cross-referenced that activity with other FL forms, to see how often all the available family law forms were used together. Then, we analyzed the report and put together the analysis below.

What’s obvious to us from the data, is that family law attorneys don’t treat California Judicial Council forms as PDFs to fill one at a time. Instead, they’re documents that need to be submitted in groups throughout multiple steps in a clearly defined process.

california judicial council form sets for family law
Most frequently used form sets on Lawyaw

When we designed Lawyaw, we tried to imagine ways attorneys could dramatically reduce the time it takes to complete these groups of Judicial Council forms.

One way Lawyaw helps in that regard is by providing family law attorneys the ability to draft multiple California Judicial Council forms at once, using a feature called form sets.

Not only does this reduce data entry, but once you make a set, you can use it again and again, saving you valuable time for each and every case you file. You can learn more about form sets here.

Read our findings below to see the frequency of California Judicial Council form groupings created by the family law attorneys that use Lawyaw.

Case initiation

Even though all divorces start with a Summons (FL-110) and Petition (FL-100), surprisingly it wasn’t the most frequently grouped set of forms on Lawyaw. Still, nearly 15% of groupings included these forms.

The case initiation is drafted 15% of the time on Lawyaw.
Case Initiation.

If minor children are involved, attorneys must also file a declaration related to children’s residences over the past five years (FL-105). We found that document to be grouped with the other case initiation documents only a third of the time.

Here’s a summary of the forms involved:

Form FL-110 (The Summons) is a mandatory notice to the respondent (spouse) that the petitioner is filing for a divorce. A response must be filed within 30 days.

Form FL-100 (The Petition) is the actual request for divorce from the Petitioner to the Respondent. It includes all the factual information for the judge to review and covers the following issues in a divorce:

  • Children
  • Support
  • Property
  • Debt
  • Attorney fees

Form FL-105(Declaration Under Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act) must be filed when minor children are involved with the divorce. The judge uses this to determine if California has the authority to make custody decisions. Children must be residents of California.

Case initiation with minor children

We found that the case initiation with minor children represents 4.3% of total groupings, with the majority of draftings on Lawyaw containing FL-100, FL-110, and FL-105 UCCJEA.

The case initiation with minor children is drafted of the time using Lawyaw.
Case Initiation with minor children.

This set of documents are filed then served to the respondent:

  • FL-100 (Petition)
  • FL-105 UCCJEA
  • FL-110 (Summons)
  • FL-115 (Proof of Service)
  • FL-117 (Notice of Acknowledgement of Receipt)

Case initiation without minor children

The case initiation for couples without minor children represents 10% of form sets on Lawyaw and is the third most frequently drafted group of forms on our platform.

The case initiation without minor children is drafted 10% of the time on Lawyaw.
Case Initiation without minor children.

This is the set of forms drafted on Lawyaw and served to the respondent:

  • FL-100 (Petition)
  • FL-110 (Summons)
  • FL-115 (Proof of Service)
  • FL-117 (Notice of Acknowledgement of Receipt)

The response

The respondent in the case has 30 days to respond to the case initiation. FL-120 is the Respondents answer to the Petitioner’s request for divorce. This response portion of the filing gives the Respondent the opportunity to make their case to the court, and make sure all the family’s information is accounted for.

Respondent with minor children

On Lawyaw the Response (FL-120) is most frequently drafted along with FL-105. The response with minor children represents 3.3% of groupings on our platform.

The response with minor children is drafted 3.3% of the time on Lawyaw.
The response with minor children.

The following forms are the response:

  • FL-120 (Response)
  • FL-105 UCCJEA (Declaration Under Uniform Child Custody and Jurisdiction Enforcement Act)

Financial disclosures

Financial disclosure forms are required to legally separate or divorce in California and provide the court with everything they need to divide all property, debts, and assets equally. These forms also help with decisions concerning spousal and child support. This portion of the case filing must be completed within 60 days of filing the initial petition.

Financial disclosures are by far the most frequently grouped forms on Lawyaw. FL-140, 141, 142, and 150 constituted 52% of form sets on Lawyaw.

The financial disclosures are drafted 52% of the time on Lawyaw.
Financial Disclosures.

The most frequently used financial disclosure forms are:

  • FL-140 (Declaration of Disclosure)
  • FL-141 (Declaration Regarding Service of Declaration of Disclosure and Income and Expense Declaration)
  • FL-142 (Schedule of Assets and Debts)
  • FL-150 (Income and Expense Declaration)

Request for order

The Request for Order is used to file for temporary orders from the court after the case Initiation is filed. This grouping of Judicial Council forms represented 6.4% of grouped form sets on Lawyaw.

The request for orders is drafted 6% of the time on Lawyaw.
Request for Orders

The most frequently used Judicial Council forms in this form set are:

  • FL-300 (Request for Order)
  • FL-335 (Proof of Service by Mail)

Final Judgement Package

Next, we have the Final Judgement Package, which is usually filed toward the end of the matter. This came in second place on Lawyaw, representing 24% of form sets.

The final judgement package is drafting 24% of the time on Lawyaw.
Final Judgement Package.

The most-used California Judicial Council Forms for this step in the process are:

  • FL-130 (Appearance, Stipulations, and Waivers)
  • FL-144 (Stipulation and Waiver of Final Declaration of Disclosure)
  • FL-170 (Declaration for Default or Uncontested Dissolution of Legal Separation)
  • FL-180 (Judgement)
  • FL-190 (Notice of Entry of Judgement)

Better Together

Drafting California Judicial Council forms one by one can be a painful and time-consuming process and it’s clear that family law attorneys agree. By creating form sets in Lawyaw, data can be entered once and then automatically populated across all the forms in the group.

To learn more about Lawyaw and see how family law attorneys use our California Judicial Council Forms software to fill FL forms faster, click here.