How to File for Child Custody in California

There are some situations when filing for a legal custody of a child becomes necessary. There is a complete procedure which one needs to follow in order to file for child custody in California. The person who files for legal custody of a child stands before a judge and explains the reason for doing so. He or she may provide supporting documentation that can help prove that he or she is justified to file for child custody.

Step by Step Guide

Step 1.

First of all you need to get the form used for this purpose. You will be using form FL-260, if you are filing for joint custody. Following are the forms and purposes for which they are used. Navigate to to download these forms.

FL-260 is used when filing for custody of a minor child.
FL-341E is used when filing for joint custody.
FL-311 is used when filing for custody and visitation.

Talk to an attorney if you are not sure what type of custody you need to file for.

Step 2.

Now start filling the form and make sure that the form is filled properly. You need to make two copies of the form. The originals must be returned to the court clerk. Your paperwork will be accepted by the clerk and he will also stamp the two copies. Stamping the copies is actually a proof that the documents have been filed. Now you have two copies one of which must be served to the other parent. This is also the time when hearing date is set.

Step 3

Remember California law does not allow a petitioner to serve the other parent with a copy. He can use the third party to get the job done. The document, verifying that the copy of the petition has been delivered, must be delivered to the court by the third party.

Step 4.

You must be present in the court on the date set by the court clerk. Don’t forget to take your copy of the child custody with you and supporting documentation if there is any. You should be able to state your case to the judge orally. You must accept the decision made by the judge.