Establish or Modify Child Custody and Visitation
How do I get a custody order?
You may ask for custody and visitation orders in a Petition for Dissolution, a Petition for Custody and Support, a Petition to Establish a Parental Relationship and during the process of requesting a Domestic Violence Restraining Order (if you share the children in common with the restrained party).
The Petition to Establish a Parental Relationship is used when there is no legal father established for a child.
A Petition for Custody and Support is filed when there is a legal father but no orders anywhere for custody or visitation.
Some of the ways that a person who is not the mother can be established as the legal parent is being married to the mother when the child is born, signing a Declaration of Paternity at the hospital when the child is born, or having a child support judgment entered establishing legal paternity.
If you already have an open case but do not have orders, you may wish to contact the Self-Help center for assistance and referral to the proper clinic
The Self-Help Center offers clinics that provide assistance in filling out forms requesting that the court open a case to establish an original custody or visitation order. Please check the clinic calendar for the “Petition for Custody and Support & Beginning Paternity” clinic.
How do I change a custody order?
To change an existing custody and visitation order you must file a “Request for Orders” FL-300 with the applicable attachments, specifically telling the court what you want to change. A hearing will be set and the other party will need to be served with your request.
The Self Help Center offers clinics that provide help in filling out the forms requesting the court change your current order. Please check the clinic calendar for the “Request for Orders: Custody and Visitation” clinic.
After your hearing
After the hearing, the orders that the court makes need to be put into a formal order.
The Self Help Center offers a clinic that can help. Please check the clinic calendar for the “Findings and Order After Hearing” clinic.
Often litigants will need their orders sooner than the next clinic. The Self-Help Center has created an instruction packet to provide assistance with getting those forms completed if you cannot wait for a clinic.