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Request for Order

REGULAR REQUEST vs. EX PARTE REQUEST

If you have a family law case opened, you may file a Request for Order to obtain temporary orders or modify court orders.  Types of family law cases that you may file a Request for Order into include: Divorce, Legal Separation, Nullity, Petition to Establish Parental Relationship, Petition for Custody and Support, Local Child Support Agency - Complaint Regarding Parental Obligations and Domestic Violence Prevention Act.  You may request a hearing in any of these cases.  A Request for Order is an optional step and is not required to obtain a final judgment in your dissolution of marriage, legal separation, nullity or paternity case.

If you do not have a family law case opened, you may not file a Request for Order.  To learn more about how to open a family law case you may click on a type of case listed above or visit the Self-Help Center / Family Law Facilitator Office.

Generally, you will obtain a hearing date within 30 days from the date you file your Request for Order documents. If you have an emergency and need emergency temporary orders before your hearing date in 30 days, then you may consider filing an Ex Parte Request for Order. An Ex Parte Request for Order requires additional forms and procedures from a regular Request for Order.

Ex Parte Request for Order are for emergencies only. Generally, an emergency is when there is or likely will be “blood on the floor.” This means that there is actual harm taking place or it is likely that if the court does not make an emergency order there will be harm.

Examples of emergencies are:
 
  • The other parent has taken the child, threatened that he/she will leave the state and hide, and you actually believe that they will do so. You need an ex parte order that returns the child to you and prevents him from leaving the area with the child.
  • Your child needs emergency medical treatment that requires both parents’ consent and the other side refuses to give consent. You need an ex parte order that allows you to have the authority to give consent.
  • The other parent has just been charged with child abuse or child molestation of your child, and there is a visitation order in effect that allows visitation for the coming weekend. You need an ex parte order that prevents visitation pending a full hearing.  

Unless there is a showing of immediate harm to the child or immediate risk that the child will be removed from the State of California, the judge may properly deny your request.

Instructions & Sample Forms

You may view instructions and sample forms.  View the sample that best applies to your situation.  The samples are for general information only; they are not intended to resolve the specific issues in your case.  If you have any questions you should consult a family law lawyer.

If you do not have an emergency, then follow the Regular Request for Order instructions to obtain temporary orders or modify existing orders.  If you have an emergency, then follow the Ex Parte Request for Order instructions to obtain emergency temporary orders or modify existing orders on an emergency basis.

The Importance of the Declaration

The declaration is a persuasive document that provides the judge as much detail as you can give and is a very important part of your case. If you are requesting emergency ex parte orders, your declaration must explain what the emergency is. Your declaration must explain all the reasons the court should grant the orders you are requesting.

It is your job to give the judge facts, details, dates, description of events, etc. so the judge can reach the conclusion that is most favorable to you. In your declaration, you must answer the question about why the judge should grant the orders you are requesting. On the day of the hearing, you may forget to tell the judge your whole story. So, all the facts and details you want the judge to consider should be stated in your declaration.

Your declaration may be up to 10 pages long, doubled spaced using 12 point font. When writing or typing your declaration, keep in mind the judge will have to read this and refer to it at your hearing. Use descriptive headings for your paragraphs. This should tell the judge what the paragraph is about. You should start with the most important issue and the most recent event. When the judge is finished reading your declaration there should be no doubt about what you want, why you want it and why the judge should do what you want.

Attaching Documents (Exhibits)

Exhibits are documents that support something you are saying in your declaration. If you believe there are documents the judge should read, you may attach them to your declaration. You must properly describe the document in your declaration by stating what the document is, what exhibit number you have assigned it and why the document is important for the judge to consider, e.g. “Attached as Exhibit 1 is a true and correct copy of my paystubs for the last 3 months showing my gross monthly income is $1550.

Forms Needed

The following are the basic forms you need to file a request for a hearing.

Click on each form to complete, save and print:

If you are requesting child custody/visitation orders you may also need:
If you are requesting child support or spousal support or attorney fees orders you will also need:
If you are requesting emergency Ex-Parte Orders you will also need:

You may also obtain the forms listed above at the following places:

  • Internet: For free, you can log onto www.courts.ca.gov and hover over “Forms & Rules” and then click on "Browse All Forms."  Select the Family Law group and the form number you need.
  • Court Clerk’s Office: For $5, you may go to any of the County Courthouses to purchase a packet of blank forms.

What Orders Can You Request

Legal Custody: Legal custody deals with the parents’ right to make the decisions relating to the child’s health, education and welfare.  One or both parents can have legal custody.  If both parents are making decisions about the child it is called joint legal custody.  When writing your declaration you need to explain why it is in the child’s best interest for one or both parents to make these decisions.

Physical Custody: Physical custody deals with the days and times that the child will spend with each parent.  If the child primarily lives with one parent it is called physical custody.  If you are requesting that both parents spend a substantial period of time with the child, it is called Joint Physical Custody.  When writing your declaration you need to explain why your proposed physical custody request is in the child’s best interest.

Visitation: Visitation is the time the child spends with the parent who does not primarily live with the child.  When writing your declaration you need to explain why your proposed visitation schedule is in the child’s best interest.  There are several options to choose from when it comes to visitation, generally they are: (1) Reasonable Visitation (2) Specific Visitation Schedule (3) Supervised Visitation.  Reasonable visitation does not define the days and times that each parent will have physical custody of the child.  A reasonable visitation court order usually works when both parents are in agreement about the time share that each is to have with the child.  A specific visitation schedule defines the days and times that each parent will have physical custody of the child.  A specific visitation schedule may be necessary for parents who have a difficult time agreeing on the days and times that each parent will spend with the child.  Supervised Visitation requires that a responsible adult be present during any visitation times with the child.  A supervised visitation order may be necessary if there are reasonable concerns that a parent may harm the child if left alone.  You may request a non-professional or professional supervisor.  Click here for more information on Supervised Visitation.

Prevent Child Abduction:  If there are facts that show that the other parent may be thinking of taking the child and hiding the child from you, then you may request orders to prevent the other parent from abducting the child.  When writing your declaration you need to explain what the other party has done or plans to do to take and hide the child from you. 

Child Support:  Both parents are required to financially support the minor child.  Child support is the amount of money that one parent pays to the other to equalize the financial responsibility.  The amount of child support is arrived by inputting several numbers into a formula.  The main factors that are taken into consideration are: (1) Dad’s gross monthly income (2) Mom’s gross monthly income and (3) Percentage of time that is spent with the child.  When writing your declaration, you must address each of these factors.  The judge needs to know what you are claiming each of these numbers is and also how you arrived at those numbers.  Other facts that may be discussed in your declaration are: (1) the other parent’s ability to earn income, (2) the number of other biological children living with you (3) the amount of child care costs per month (4) the amount of rental income received (5) the amount of property taxes and mortgage interest paid per month and (6) the amount paid per month for health insurance premiums.  You may attach any supporting documentation to your declaration as exhibits.  Be prepared for what the amount of child support might be.  Before you file your OSC, the Self-Help Center / Family Law Facilitator may help you calculate the amount of child support or you may go to https://www.cse.ca.gov/ChildSupport/cse/guidelineCalculator to calculate the child support amount on your own.

Spousal Support:  (formerly known as “ALIMONY”):  The judge has discretion to order the payment of spousal support.  The judge will consider several factors before deciding whether to award spousal support, the amount of spousal support and the length of time that spousal support will be received.  Some of the factors the judge will consider are:  (1) Spouse’s ability to pay spousal support (2) Other spouse’s need to receive spousal support and (3) Standard of living during your marriage.  When writing your declaration, you must address each of these factors.  The judge needs to know what you think your spouse’s income is and how you arrived at that number.  In addition, your declaration must give details that describe your standard of living during the marriage which may include the number and kinds of vacations you took together, the kind of home you lived in, the kind of cars you owned, etc.Other factors that you may include in your declaration are the following: (1) Length of marriage (2) Age and health of each spouse (3) How much income each spouse can earn on their own (4) What the expenses of each spouse are (5) The history of the way the couple handled money during the marriage (6) Whether having a job would make it too hard to take care of the children (7) Whether one spouse helped the other get an education, training, career, or professional license (8) Whether there was domestic violence in the marriage or domestic partnership and (9) Whether one spouse's career was affected by unemployment, or by taking care of the children or home.

Attorney's Fees and Costs:  You may request that the other party pay for your attorney’s fees and costs.  The judge has discretion to grant or deny this request.  When writing your declaration, you must establish in sufficient detail that the other party has the financial ability to pay your attorney’s fees and costs.

Property Restraint:  You may request that the other party be prohibited from cashing out 401K’s, checking accounts, savings accounts, etc.  When writing your declaration, you must describe why this order is necessary.

Property Control:  You may request an order giving you permission to use a car or live in the house.  Your declaration must describe why this order is necessary.

Other Relief:  You may request any other relief not already covered.  For example, you may request to (1) set aside default (2) change venue (3) reimbursement of half of uninsured health care expenses.  Your declaration must describe why this order is necessary.

Costs Involved

Filing Fee: $60 filing fee for the regular Request for Order. There is an additional fee of $25 to modify child custody or visitation orders. There is an additional fee of $60 to request an ex parte hearing.  The court will also charge a first appearance fee of $435 if it was not previously paid or waived.  There will also be a $30 fee if you want a court reporter present at your hearing.  If you do not have a court reporter present at your hearing, you will not be able to request a transcript of your hearing in the future.

Fee Waiver: If you cannot afford to pay the filing fee, you may obtain the forms to apply for a fee waiver at any of our Courthouses or you may click the links below. The fee waiver forms are:

Additional information regarding waiver of court fees and costs is available on the Information Sheet on Waiver of Court Fees and Costs (FW-001-INFO).