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  • Allison Roberts

Modern Love and Modern Break-ups: FD vs. FM Matters

Updated: Nov 14, 2023



When you file for divorce, your case is assigned to a docket with a specific case number. Each divorce will start with an “FM” and all issues, motions, hearing, and orders in your case will be entered in that FM matter.


Custody and Support


Custody is decided based on the same guiding principle of the best interest of the child whether your case is on the FM or the FD docket, but the rules and procedural guidelines are not the same.

If you were never married but share a child, any issues of custody, parenting time, and child support will be assigned to a different docket. Your case will start with an “FD”. This docket is growing as the fabric of society changes to include fewer people getting married before becoming co-parents, same-sex couples, or the increasingly less prevalent but not eliminated cases involving claims for support between unmarried couples (see Moynihan v. Lynch).


Custody is decided based on the same guiding principle of the best interest of the child whether your case is on the FM or the FD docket, but the rules and procedural guidelines are not the same. There is a lot less formality in an FD case, which theoretically may allow easier access to the courts, however, this uncertainty of process results in heightened anxiety and often more delay for a parent looking for clarity in an uncertain situation.


Other Unique Issues

Another issue that has become more common in my family law cases is the need to file a separate Writ of Possession or a Request for Ejectment in an entirely separate docket with landlord-tenant matters, cases starting with a “DC”, which are when parties who live together end their romantic relationship but one of the parties refuses to move out.


Your family deserves certainty and support. Be sure to select an attorney comfortable navigating all of these real-life scenarios to help you with your custody and support claims. To talk further, please call us at 908.237.3098 or use this contact form.


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