Top 20 reasons why family law papers are returned by the court

December 2007
By Judge John Wittmayer, Multnomah County Circuit Court

It is very common that papers submitted to the Family Court in Multnomah County are returned because they are deficient in some way. Judge Maureen McKnight, with approval from Chief Family Law Judge Nan Waller, offers the following top 20 reasons this occurs. And yes, we know there are only 19 reasons on the list. But we all learn new things frequently, so there is still room for growth. Family law lawyers might find it helpful to share this list with their legal assistants. A more detailed description of the issues, including citations to statutes and rules, may be found on the Family Law section of

  1. Missing signatures on a "Stipulated" Judgment
  2. Reference to exhibits not provided
  3. No filing fee paid for Supplemental Judgment
  4. No finding of "unjustness" or "inappropriateness" re presumptive amount of child support and/or no financially-related factual basis for rebuttal finding
  5. No findings re spousal support ordered in General Judgment
  6. Missing Certificate of Pending Child Support and/or a new child support order is proposed when an order already exists involving the same obligor and same child in another case
  7. General confusion about what the petitioner or parties intend
  8. Required notices are missing in cases involving support
  9. Adult child is not served, or has not waived rights or has not signed Stipulated Judgment
  10. The parties have not attended the Parenting Education Class
  11. Required term re unreimbursed health insurance is missing
  12. No facts to support personal jurisdiction when service is effected out of state
  13. Judgment contains terms less advantageous to respondent than those in Petition (and no stipulation)
  14. Waiver of the 90 days is sought simply through Judgment language rather than by Motion and Affidavit
  15. Court fees are owing but no State Judgment is contained for deferred fees
  16. UCCJEA information is lacking or reveals problems
  17. No second copy of support order for DOJ
  18. Incorrect captioning on Judgments and Orders (particularly Limited Judgment vs. Temporary Orders)
  19. Facts supporting default (i.e., reasons why Petitioner knows the Respondent is not in military)