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Brandon M.
Brandon M., Family Law Attorney
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I filled out form MC-50. I am having my neighbor mail it

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I filled out form MC-50.

I am having my neighbor mail it out for me since I am going Pro-Se and releasing my attorney.

My question is this. My neighbor is going to mail the copies to my attorney and my ex's attorney via regular mail.

Do I mail the original signed copy (neighbor signed) to the filing clerks office via regular mail OR do I have to mail it via certified mail OR do I have to walk it in to file it in person?
Hello there:

Thank you for your question. Typically, the court will reject MC-050 if it is not signed by the attorney substituting out. That said, the original signed copy can be filed with the court via regular mail, certified mail, or walking in and filing it in person. Walking it in to file in person is usually the best option because you can get it stamped as filed immediately and address any problems that may arise.
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I don't understand. Is my neighbor who is serving the Papers for me supposed to walk into my attorneys office to get her signature so that he can then sign that copy to mail to the courts?

I was under the imression that my neighbor's job was to serve my attorney via regular mail and she was to sign it then mail her copy to the courts.

The instructions on the MC-50 form says to mail it to the other parties.

I'm confused. Please give me step by step advice on how to get this form out correctly so I can fire my attorney and go Pro-Se.
Your attorney isn't likely to release his representation based on your neighbor walking into his office unless you contact your attorney in advance, but "yes", the normal thing to do is to contact your attorney and just ask him to sign. It really doesn't matter if your attorney gives the MC-050 to your neighbor with your permission or whether your attorney gives it to you directly. Usually, I handle the filing on behalf of my client so I have assurance that I am removed by the court as the attorney of record.

The only normal reason an attorney hypothetically has to not release a client upon request is if it would cause undue prejudice to the client's case. For example, if the attorney was asked to be released in the middle of a trial. In most cases, the attorney must release himself or herself from representation upon request.

In that context, the process would be to contact the attorney and ask to be released. The attorney would be presented with the MC-050 and the attorney would provide their signature. Typically, the attorney would handle the filing and service, but otherwise a copy of the form would then be served by mail to all parties. The proof of service and the form itself would be filed with the court. A copy of the filed MC-050 would thereafter be delivered to the released attorney (though it would technically not be procedurally mandated to do so).
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

1) I call my attorney and ask her to release representation because I am going Pro-Se

2) I go into her office and get her signature on the MC-50 form. (Either I go in or have a friend go in or have my neighbor go in to get her signature on copy #1. It doesn't matter who gets her to sign even though I am going Pro-Se right?)

3) I sign page 1 of MC-50 on copy #1 too above my attorney's signature

4) at this point, do I hand it over to my neighbor so he can mail the signed copy#1 MC-50 form to the courts (the one I signed and my attorney signed) since I am going Pro-Se or can I walk it into the courts and file it myself?

5) If I get my attorney to sign, I can mail it in via regular mail too correct?
1. Correct.

2. Correct.

3. Correct.

4. You can file the form yourself, but you will need another adult to serve the form on the parties. FYI, some of California's Superior Courts have a document that you would have to sign first that allows your neighbor to file on your behalf (any such local form would generally be available through the local court's website), so it might be easiest to file it yourself anyway if you plan to file in person.

5. Mail it for what purpose? If you're talking about service by mail, you cannot do it yourself. If you're talking about mailing it for filing or to send your attorney a copy, you can do it yourself.
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Form MC-50 has 2p ages

1st page is the Substitution of Attorney-Civil
2nd page is Proof of Service by mail

The instruction states that if you are representing yourself, someone else must mail these papers and sign the proof of Service by Mail.

This is why I got confused.

It says "After having all parties served by mail with the substitution of attorney-Civil, Have the person who mailed the document complete service by mail.

I thought because I am going to be representing myself, I had to stand back and not do anything and let my neighbor serve my attorney instead of me going in to see her and getting her to sign the form?
I understand that it is confusing when doing it for the first time. The process is very clear in my mind, but that doesn't change that it is difficult the first time doing it. Remember to not confuse service with filing. Service of process is when you send the documents to other parties. Filing is when you file it with the court.

When you get your attorney to sign the document, you are not serving your attorney. You are getting your attorney to sign the document. Those are not the same thing.

You can file the document and you can ask your attorney to sign the form. You cannot serve the document on the other parties.
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I am finally getting it!


I go into her office to ask her to sign the form.

Then I sign the form.

Then I make 3 copies of the form

Then I have my neighbor "serve" my attorney and my Ex's attorney via regular mail and keep one copy for my records.

Then I walk into the county clerks office to file the original signed documents myself.

Did I get it right?


That would work, yes :-) . I would also mail a filed copy to your attorney after you visit the court.

Incidentally, I would also bring some photocopies to the court along with the original. They will need a copy for their file, and you will want a stamped copy for your personal records.
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you so much for your with me on this issue.I truly appreciate it. You really took your time with me to explain the process. I couldn't have done this without your help. You are amazing!!!!

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I was just told that i would have to serve my attorney and my ex's attorney a set of the "court stamped" MC-50 form? I thought serving them once was enough!? Do I need to "serve" them again with the stamped copies too?
Yes, and I apologize because all of the discussion until now has been about how to get this thing filed and approved by the court with no discussion of what comes next. Once you get a stamped copy back from the court, you should send a copy to your attorney and opposing counsel because that is the only way that they would have notice that the filing actually occurred.
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Does it need to be served by someone over the age of. 18 because I am going to be representing myself?

Or can I just pop it in the mail.
I'm glad that you asked that question. Self-representation does not permit a party to effectuate service of process themselves. Service of process requires service by someone age 18 who is not a party to the action, regardless of whether the party is in pro per.
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.
So I have to serve everyone AGAIN with the exact same copies of what I already served them but this time, with the courts conformed stamp on it?

Is there another form i or my neighbor, who will be serving everyone again, have to fill out to make this "seving" legal?
After a substitution of attorney form has been filed with the court, a copy of the substitution of stamped substitution of attorney form must be served on all parties. I'm not sure that I would characterize it as serving "everyone again"... your attorney needs a copy so he can put his signature on it and also needs a stamped copy so he knows that he's officially off the case. You have a copy in your hands when you take it to the court house. The only arguable redundancy is service on the opposing parties before and after filing (which even then serves a purpose, and I recommend doing to avoid any potential procedural errors). But still, unless you have multiple defendants, the good news is that this would be a grand total of only 4 services.

Is there another form that you or your neighbor will be serving everyone again? Not related to this substitution of attorney, no there will not.

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