Mandatory and Optional Judicial Council Forms in California

Mandatory and optional Judicial Council forms for California are the topic of this article. California Judicial Council forms are adopted as mandatory or approved as optional pursuant to the provisions of California Government Code section 68511. Mandatory forms must be used. Optional forms may but need not be used although the local rules of some of some courts make the use of some or all optional Judicial Council forms mandatory in the courts located in that county so any attorneys or parties involved in California litigation should carefully review their local court rules.

An example of a mandatory form is Form FL-100 which is the Petition form used to request a dissolution, legal separation or nullity in California. An example of an optional form is form FL-145 which is the Form Interrogatories that may be used for family law cases. The first few letters of the form number denotes the type of case for which it was designed. For example, FL means a family law form.

Certain types of California litigation such as family law and probate require the use of numerous mandatory Judicial Council forms.

To determine whether a particular Judicial Council form is mandatory or optional, look at the lower left-hand corner of the first page of that form. This will state whether the form was adopted as mandatory or was approved as optional by the Judicial Council of California.

Optional forms must be accepted by all courts pursuant to California Rule of Court 1.35 so long as they are applicable to the case in which they are used.

A fact that some people working in the legal profession are not aware of is that the lower right corner of the first page of many if not most Judicial Council forms cites the California code sections that are applicable to that particular form. For example form FL-145 mentioned previously cites Code of Civil Procedure sections 2030.10 through 2030.410 as well as Code of Civil Procedure section 2033.710 all of which are applicable to that form. Anyone served with a form may want to carefully review the lower right corner of the first page, and then review all code sections cited. This may prove to be useful in certain cases.

To browse all of the California Judicial Council forms you can visit the California Courts official website at the following link:

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Stan Burman