Czar Peter the Great once said, “I don’t rule Russia. Ten thousand clerks rule Russia!” Well, in a divorce one clerk can make a great difference — the clerk of the court.
The clerk of the court is responsible for keeping court records and procedures in order. A person filing for divorce pro se or a divorce lawyer files divorce paperwork with the clerk of the courts in the 50 jurisdictions.
For the pro se filer in particular, the clerk of the court, who may be called the court assistant, district clerk or chancery clerk, is a man or woman who should become a new best friend.
The phase “divorce paperwork” includes a myriad of forms and papers that must filed in every divorce action, even the simplest uncontested default divorce cases. Starting with the complaint and summons and through the final divorce decree, the clerk of the court is the man or woman who keeps track that all the protocols and procedures have been followed.
The clerk will be involved right from the start. He or she is the person who gives the divorce a case number that stays with the action from start to finish.
The clerk moves each divorce through the formalities of the family court. In conjunction with the judge, the clerk will see that all paperwork filed in each case is prepared, organized, and presented properly for review. In all jurisdictions, the clerk is prohibited from answering legal questions, but many clerks can be most helpful in dealing with filing procedures.
The complexities of filing often bewilder pro se filers, but the clerk is the last person a pro se filer wants to cross.