Are you in the midst of a divorce? Do you and your spouse have children? Do you have a child with your partner? Child custody may be a primary concern in the middle of your divorce or separation and you may not know how to file for child custody in California. The RJZ Law Group – located in Valencia, CA – is here to help you with your child custody case. Click the link below for a FREE consultation with our legal team!

How Does the Child Custody Process Work in California?

When your family court case involves child custody and visitation, it is important to know your options. Parents in the State of California have three options to pursue – settle with the other parent and create a custody and visitation agreement, attend mediation to help create a custody agreement or hire the RJZ Law Team and pursue child custody in a court case. Here is a step-by-step look at the child custody process in California.

  1. Open a Family Law Case. To file for child custody, you must open a family law case with the county superior court – which will handle divorce, separation, annulment, custody and child support. Family law cases may include restraining orders when needed and will prevent either party in the case from changing insurance beneficiaries or taking children out of state during the case.
  2. Complete Legal Custody Forms. The next step in the process is to complete a Request for Custody Order – which is an official document that requests that the court rule on child custody. With this form, you will outline who you believe should have legal and physical custody and request any child support.
  3. File Child Custody Documents with the Court. The next step is to take three copies of your documents to the county clerk and file them with the California court system. When you deliver the documents, you will pay any necessary fees, fill out any additional forms and receive a hearing date.
  4. Serve the Other Parent. At this point in the process – a minimum of 16 days prior to your court hearing – the other parent will be served with notification of the family law case by an individual not involved in the case. 
  5. File Additional Forms. When the other parent has been notified and served, you must file a Proof of Service Form with the county court system, a minimum of five days prior to your court date. The other parent can file a Responsive Declaration prior to the hearing.

READ MORE: Learn About Probate and Estate Planning at RJZ Law Group

Learn more about how to file for child custody in California with this quick step-by-step guide created by the RJZ Law Group. Contact our legal team today to learn more about how we can help with civil litigation cases at RJZ Law in Valencia, CA!