How to Obtain a California Ex Parte Child Custody Order

Ex parte divorce proceedings frequently occur in California.  California Rules of Court 5.151 states that the purpose of an emergency order is to address a matter that cannot be heard on the court’s regular hearing calendar. The sole purpose of an ex parte Request for Order (RFO) is to promptly submit your request to the judge for review.

California Ex Parte Order Overview

Ex parte child custody orders are usually granted in situations involving domestic violence, child custody, or child abduction. You cannot use an ex parte to obtain an expedited support order. Common examples of emergencies include the following:

  • The other parent has taken the child and threatened to leave the state or hide the child and you actually believe he/she will do so. In this situation, you can seek an ex parte order that returns the child to you and prevents him/her from leaving the immediate locale with the child.
  • Your child needs immediate medical attention that requires both parent’s consent and the other parent refuses to provide such consent. You can request an ex parte order that allows you to have authority to provide consent.
  • The other parent has recently been charged with child abuse or molestation. You can seek an ex parte order that prevents visitation pending a full hearing.

Applications for emergency orders granting or modifying child custody or visitation (parenting time) under Family Code section 3064 must:

(A)Provide a full, detailed description of the most recent incidents showing:

(i)Immediate harm to the child as defined in Family Code section 3064(b); or

(ii)Immediate risk that the child will be removed from the State of California.

(B)Specify the date of each incident described in (A);

(C)Advise the court of the existing custody and visitation (parenting time) arrangements and how they would be changed by the request for emergency orders;

(D)Include a copy of the current custody orders, if they are available. If no orders exist, explain where and with whom the child is currently living; and

(E)Include a completed Declaration Under Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) (FL-105) if the form was not already filed by a party or if the information has changed since it was filed.

Unless you can demonstrate that your child will suffer immediate harm or immediate risk, or that the child will be removed from the State of California, the judge will likely deny your request. An ex parte order is temporary in nature. The order remains in place until the RFO hearing is held. At the RFO hearing, the judge will decide whether the order shall remain in effect.

How to Obtain a California Ex Parte Child Custody Order

Ex parte orders are only available under emergency circumstances.  To obtain an ex parte order, the moving party must demonstrate that great injury will be caused if immediate attention is not taken. You must complete the following forms to obtain a California ex parte child custody order:

You may need to complete additional forms depending on which county you file the ex parte RFO. Complete FL 150 Income and Expense Declaration if you are seeking child support. Also include a Declaration in Support of Ex Parte Application along with your paperwork. Make three copies of the form. File the original documents with the court clerk and serve the filed copies on the opposing party or his/her attorney.

You must call the opposing party by 10:00 a.m. the court day before the ex parte date and tell him/her that the judge in your family law case will be deciding to grant the emergency order (describe the emergency order you are requesting). Tell the opposing party the date and time the judge will review the request.  If the child is in danger, speak with an attorney to find out the steps you can take to avoid providing the other parent advance notice of the ex parte proceeding. As a parent and a party to the lawsuit, you must have a neutral third-party over 18-years-old serve the ex parte RFO on the opposing party. The opposing party must be served by 2:00 p.m. the court day before the ex parte hearing date .  The deadlines referenced above may be differ depending on which county you file the ex parte RFO.

Contact San Diego Esquire for more information about the California ex parte custody RFO legal document preparation services we provide. We can help you draft and file the documents you need for an ex parte child custody order request.

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About the Author:

Kymeshia Morris Esq., founder of San Diego Esquire has practiced law in California since 2012. During her career as a lawyer, she has co-authored legal publications and self-help articles. Kymeshia is dedicated to providing affordable legal services to California businesses and individuals.

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