How to get an order in a family law case

Once papers are filed starting a family law case (like a divorce or a parentage case), you can ask for a court date so a judge can make a decision about your financial or family situation. This is called requesting an order. You can request an order about many issues, like child or spousal support, or child custody and visitation (parenting time). 

Things to know about requesting orders

  • Either side can ask the judge to make a temporary decision (issue an order) while your case is ongoing.

  • You can request more than one type of order using the same form. A judge can then decide everything at the same time. For example, in a divorce, you can ask for spousal or domestic partner support and child support at the same time. In a parentage case, you could ask for child custody,  visitation (parenting time), and child support.

  • You use this same form and process if you want to change an order a judge already made, even if your case is already final (there's a judgment).

  • If you and the other side in your case agree, you can ask the judge to make your agreement a court order. You won't need a court date.

These instructions are for how to request an order using Request for Order (form FL-300). For some other requests, you'll need to use a different form. For example, you use different forms to ask for a domestic violence restraining order or renew a restraining order

At a glance

Steps to get a court order

The basic process is similar for most types of orders. If you’re asking the court to make a decision about custody or visitation, you may need to take part in another step called mediation.   

  • Start

    Fill out court forms for the type of order - or orders - you want

  • File

    File forms with the court and pay a filing fee (or request a fee waiver). Get a court date.

  • Serve other person

    Serve your spouse or child's other parent by having someone else deliver the forms to them.  

  • Attend hearing

    Attend a hearing where a judge will make a decision about your request.

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