What you can file to ask for a child custody and visitation order
There are different types of cases and papers you can file to ask for a child custody and visitation (parenting time) order. Which type of case or papers you can file depends on your situation, like whether you and the other parent are married or you already filed a family law case.
Deciding what to file
If you have a family law case, you can file a Request for Order in that case
If there's already a family law case involving the child in California, then you can file a Request for Order (form FL-300) to ask the judge to make or change an order in that case about child custody and visitation (parenting time). Common family law cases are divorces or parentage (paternity) cases.
If you and the other parent agree about what orders you want, you can also ask the judge to make your agreement an order.
If you do not have a family law case, you need to start one to ask for custody and visitation (parenting time) orders
You first need to start a family law case (like a divorce between you and the other parent or a parentage case). Then, you can ask in that case for child custody and visitation orders. Which type of case you start depends on your situation.
|If you and the other person . . .||You can file a . . .|
|Are married or in a domestic partnership and want to divorce or legally separate||Petition for divorce or legal separation|
|Are married or in a domestic partnership and do not want to divorce or legally separate|
|Are not married or in a domestic partnership and you are not both the child's legal parent||Petition to Determine Parentage|
|Are not married or in a domestic partnership, but are both the child's legal parent (for example, you both signed a Voluntary Declaration of Parentage or legally adopted the child)||
|Have a child together and you need protection from the other parent||Request for a Domestic Violence Restraining Order|
If you are not the child's parent but want custody of the child because the parents are not able to care for the child, find out more about guardianships. This is when the court orders someone other than a child's parent to have custody of the child.