In California, either parent can have custody, or the
parents can share custody. The judge makes the final
decision but usually will approve the arrangement both
parents agree upon. If the parents can't agree, the
judge will make a decision at a court hearing. The judge
will usually not make a decision about custody/visitation
until after the parents have met with a mediator.
If parents can't agree on custody/visitation on their
own, the judge will have the parents meet with Family
Court Services to see if an agreement can be reached
with the help of a mediator.
If mediation doesn't work, the issue of custody will
have to be decided in a court hearing by a Judge. In
some courts, the mediator will make a recommendation
to the judge about custody/visitation orders.
The judge may appoint an evaluator to recommend a parenting
plan. A parent can also ask for an evaluation, but the
request may not be granted. Parents may have to pay
for an evaluation.
The law says that judges must give custody according
to what is best for the child. In most cases, judges
give custody to one or both parents. But there are times
when custody is given to a friend or relative.
If your case is contested by the other parent, you
should consider consulting a lawyer. Click here
for information about family law and child custody services
offered by Kinsey
Law Offices. You may call the offices at
(562) 596-8177 or send the office an E-Mail.
First - Start A Court
To get a custody order for your children, you, the
other parent, or the local child support agency (formerly
the district attorney) must first start a court case.
The kind of case you can start depends on whether or
not you're married to the other parent.
If you are married, you must start one of the following
This section does not contain forms to file any of
these court actions. You will find some of these in
other sections of our free legal forms menu.
When Child Custody Orders
May Be Made:
Child Custody orders may be made at a hearing held
shortly after the filing of the underlying court case
and may be modified any time before the child(ren) turn
Child Custody Forms:
|Order to Show
|Notice of Motion
|Application for Order and
Supporting Declaration (Family Law-Uniform Parentage)
|Child Custody and Visitation
|Income and Expense
Declaration (Family Law)
|Proof of Personal
to Order to Show Cause or Notice of Motion
Order After Hearing (Family Law-Custody and Support-Uniform
and Visitation Order Attachment
- Physical Custody Attachment
|Joint Legal Custody
Information and Order Attachment
|Notice of Rights
and Responsibilities - Health Care Costs and Reimbursement
Procedures, and Information Sheet on Changing a
Child Support Order
Order for Custody and/or visitation
Case Registry Form
to Withhold Income for Child Support
to Judicial Council Form or Other Court Paper