Starting a New Case
Parties who have a child(ren) and who have never been married or are separated
can begin a new case by calling The Department of Human Services at
Procedure: The Department of Human Services (DHS) sends a referral to the
Prosecutor’s Office. The Prosecutor’s office files a complaint with the Court. The
Other party, (defendant) needs to be served with the complaint and appropriate paperwork.
If paternity is already established, a referral goes to
the Friend of Court and a referee hearing will be scheduled. At the time of the
hearing, the Friend of the Court will make a recommendation to the Judge as to child
support, custody, parenting time, and any other issues that may be addressed. Both
parties will receive a copy of the recommendation with a notice for a hearing before
the judge. If the parties agree, no one needs to appear before the Judge and he
will usually sign an order that reflects the recommendation. If either party does
not agree with the recommendation, then that party needs to appear and the Judge
will decide if the order should be changed and/or signed. Once the Judge signs the
order, the Friend of Court is able to enforce any and/or all issues.
Starting a Divorce:
- An attorney can file the following information for you:
- Summons and Complaint
- Complaint for Divorce
- Verified Statement
- Serve the other party with the proper paperwork
- File a motion before the Judge to obtain an Order of Referral to the Friend of Court
- Draft orders for you from the Referee recommendations, or per the agreement of the
- If you wish to file for divorce on your own, the following information must be completed
and submitted to the County Clerk, with copies to the other party and the Friend
- The original Summons and Complaint
- Complaint for Divorce
- Verified Statement.
*Please Note: Forms may be obtained through your local library or a bookstore.
Instructions: Once the other party has been served with the above paperwork,
you can request either of the following:
- Submit a request in writing to the Friend of Court Office for a hearing to establish
a Temporary Order
- File a motion with the County Clerk for a hearing before the Judge to obtain an
Order of Referral to the Friend of Court for calculations.
*Please Note: If you have children and are divorcing, you must wait 6 months from
the time of filing to the time of the Judgment of Divorce.
Paternity: The term paternity refers to the legal
father of a minor child. A father can sign an Affidavit of Parentage any time after
the birth of the minor child to admit to being the father of the child. Paternity
can also be established through a DNA test ordered by a Judge or done independently.
If the DNA test determines that the alleged father cannot be excluded as the father
of a minor child, then a case can be referred to the Friend of Court for a recommendation
as to custody, parenting time, child support, and any other issues the parties may
*Please Note: If a child is conceived during a marriage, then the husband of the
mother is automatically the “LEGAL” Father of that child, unless proven otherwise.