Keller & Weber


Family Law General Information

Commencement of Action: 

Filing by one party (‘petitioner”) of a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, Legal Separation or Nullity, with Summons to be issued.  The court then has jurisdiction over the petitioner.  The moving papers, and appropriate blank responsive documents then are served on the other party (“respondent”) who has thirty (30) days to file a Response, absent agreement to extend.  Upon service on respondent, the court has jurisdiction over said party.


These appear on the backside of the Summons, often referred to as “ATROS” (automatic temporary restraining orders) and include: 
     (i) removing a child from the state or applying for a new or replacement passport with prior written consent of the other party or court order;
     (ii) cashing, borrowing against, cancelling or changing the beneficiaries on insurance, including life, health, automobile or disability;
     (iii) transferring, encumbering, concealing property, or disposing of property, real or personal and regardless of character, without prior written consent of the other or court order, except in the usual course of business or for the necessities of life;
     (iv) creating a non-probate transfer. 
These are in effect upon issuance of the Summons, and are enforceable against the petitioner upon filing and against the respondent upon completion of service of process on that party.

​Temporary orders

Throughout the course of litigation, from time-to-time, a party may seek by Request for Order and supporting declaration, certain temporary orders, i.e. custody, visitation, child support, spousal support, need based attorney fees and costs, exclusive use of property, management and control of certain property, property protection, appointment of experts, or other.   Any agreement ordinarily is reduced to written Stipulation And Order, executed by each party and their respective counsel, and submitted to the Court to become an order thereof.  To the extent the requested relief is contested by the other party, a hearing will be necessary for the court to address the issue(s) presented.

​Domestic violence prevention act

Proceeding under the provisions of this Act is done under circumstances where, for example, emergency and/or permanent restraining orders are sought which may involve, without limitation:  custody, visitation, stay-way, non-contact, exclusion from dwelling. As may be necessary, ex parte relief may be sought under emergency circumstances and under a shortened time frame for the court's involvement. Proceeding under this Act is not intended to be a substitute for involvement of appropriate law enforcement authorities.    

declaration of disclosure

Exchange by each party of a Preliminary Declaration of Disclosure, with Schedule of Assets and Debts, Income And Expense Declaration and previous (2) years income tax returns attached (“PDD”), is mandatory and to be served with a party’s respective initial pleading or within (60) days of filing same.  As fiduciaries to each other, there exists an on-going obligation to augment this document.  Monetary sanctions for non-compliance will result in favor of the complying party, and it is immaterial that the other spouse could conceivably have discovered the information. This document is particularly important as it sets forth initial statements by each party, under penalty of perjury, identifying the nature and extent of assets and debts, regardless of claimed character, i.e. community or separate property, as well as a party’s income and expenses.  Omitted assets by a party, unknown to the other, are not without remedy upon discovery, i.e. in addition to receipt by the latter of his or her community property interest, the court may award the entire property to that party without offset.

A Final Declaration of Disclosure (“FDD”) also is required to be exchanged by each party, for example, prior to trial.  However, unlike the PDD, the FDD can be waived.