What Steps do I Need to Take to Get Custody of my Children in California?
Steps to Get Custody of my Children in OC California. In order to get custody of your children in California, you’ll need to have a child custody order put into place. This can be done if you are already in the midst of a family court case, such as a divorce, a legal separation, a paternity/parentage case or a domestic violence restraining order case, or it can be initiated as a new child custody case.
Can you Agree with the Other Parent on Custody?
One of the best ways to create a custody agreement together is to go through child custody mediation. Custody mediation gives parents the opportunity to resolve any disagreements they may have regarding a parenting plan for the children they share - and it can be a great way to build communication skills with your children’s other parent.
In custody mediation, you, your child’s other parent, and a trained mediator will meet. The mediator’s job is to facilitate a productive conversation between the parents without showing favor or giving legal advice to either party. The goal of mediation is to help you create a custody and parenting plan that is in the best interest of your children, and to help you and your child’s other parent learn how to handle anger, resentment, and poor communication.
If you and your child’s other parent can come to an agreement on a child custody plan that is in the best interest of the children, you may have an attorney look over the agreement, sign it, and have the custody mediator submit it to the judge for approval.
If you do not come to an agreement, you can go through the court system and have a judge determine the best custody and parenting plan for your children.
Looking for a custody mediator? Mediators are often attorneys, retired lawyers, retired judges, or former mental health professionals. Check out the internet, or talk to friends or local professionals who you trust for referrals. You can also ask at your city hall or courthouse for family court services, which may offer free custody mediation.
Initiate a Child Custody Case in OC California
To initiate a child custody case, you can ask for a custody or visitation order as part of one of the following cases.
Starting a new child custody case either as part of one of these cases or on its own, you should always talk to a California child custody attorney. When it comes to your children, protect their best interests with quality legal advice that pertains to your situation.
Mediation may be required prior to your first court date, so make sure to check with Family Court Services if you haven’t already gone through mediation.
What is OC California’s Process for Requesting a Custody Hearing through the Courts
You’ll need to start by filling out the appropriate court forms.
• Request for Order
• Child Custody and Visitation Application Attachment - This one is optional, but can help you to include all the relevant details of your case.
As stated above, it is always important to have the guidance of a qualified attorney, even if you choose to do most of the work yourself. Simply having an attorney review your forms prior to filing them can help you avoid costly mistakes. You can also have the court’s family law facilitator to review your forms for accuracy.
To file your forms, you’ll need a copy for you and a copy for the child’s other parent. The court will keep the original on file. Once you have your court date (or a date for mediation if you haven’t already done it), you will need to serve the other parent a copy of both forms. A person over the age of 18 who is not involved in the case can serve the papers on the other parent, or you can hire a process server.
When the papers have been served, you’ll need to file a Proof of Personal Service with the court.
When your court date arrives, make sure to arrive at least ten minutes ahead of time. A judge will determine a custody agreement that is in the best interests of the children, and it will be signed into a custody order.
Modifying an Existing Custody Order in OC California
If a child custody order already exists for your children and you wish to modify it, you may apply to do so at any time, or you and the child’s other parent may create a new custody agreement and have it approved by the court at any time.
In order for the courts to change a custody agreement, there needs to be a change in circumstances that renders the existing custody agreement no longer in the best interest of the children.
Potential reasons to change a custody order include the following:
• The parents’ work schedules have changed
• The parents have moved or are planning to move
• The child’s preference has changed and is taken into consideration by the Court
• One parent has been irresponsible and has affected the child’s well being
• For example, the child is routinely late for school, or the parent has an issue with substance abuse
Child Custody and Visitation Attorney in Orange County, California
Table of Contents
- 1 What Steps do I Need to Take to Get Custody of my Children in California?
- 2 Can you Agree with the Other Parent on Custody?
- 3 Initiate a Child Custody Case in OC California
- 4 What is OC California’s Process for Requesting a Custody Hearing through the Courts
- 5 Modifying an Existing Custody Order in OC California
- 6 Child Custody and Visitation Attorney in Orange County, California