California courts allow a person to file for emergency orders in family matters. People living in California file ex parte motions fairly often. Keep in mind, the purpose of asking for a California ex parte child custody order is so a judge can make a decision on a legal issue on short notice rather than on the court’s regular calendar. (See California Rules of Court 5.151). In other words, the sole purpose of filing an ex parte Request for Order (RFO) is to get in front of a judge fast (often only a day or 2). On the other hand, courts usually set regular hearings within 45 or 60 days of filing. As you can see, the ex parte process has a much shorter timeline.
Reasons to File Request for California Ex Parte Child Custody Order
To explain in greater detail, here are some reasons you may want to ask for a California ex parte child custody order:
- A child needs medical attention that requires both parents’ consent, but one parent refuses. A parent can ask the court to grant a California ex parte child custody order so that only one parent is needed to provide consent for the needed treatment.
- A parent has taken the child, hid the child or threatened to leave the state with the child. Often, in this case, there is valid reason to believe the other partent will carry out their threat. In this situation, a parent can ask for a California ex parte child custody order on shortened notice that demands the child be returned. Often these emergency orders will include an order which prevents the threatening parent from removing the child from the city or State.
- A parent is acting in a way that could harm a child. For example, if a parent has recently been charged with driving drunk with the child in the car or charged for child abuse or molestation. A parent could ask the court for a California ex parte child custody order that prevents visitation pending mediation and a full hearing.
Information Required in California Ex Parte Request (RFO)
Keep in mind, Family Code Section 3064, describes what information is needed to apply for California ex parte orders for child custody or visitation. The following facts and information should be included in an ex parte request (Request for Order).
(A) Provide a detailed description explaining why and how the child could be harmed as 1) described in Family Code Section 3064(b) or 2) there is an immediate risk that the parent will take the child outside California.
(B) Identify the date of each incident..
(C) Describe the existing custody and visitation (parenting time) arrangements and/or orders and explain how they would be changed by the emergency orders being requested.
(D) Describe in detail the current living arrangements of the child.
E) Include a completed, up-to-date, Declaration under Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) FL-105 if one has not been filed before or if the information has changed.
In conclusion, unless a parent can substantiate their child will suffer immediate harm or immediate risk, or can prove that the other parent plans to remove the child from California, their ex parte request will most likely be denied by a judge. Keep in mind that an ex parte order is temporary. The temporary order will stay in place until the Request for Order hearing is held. Court hearings are generally set within 20 days. At the last hearing, the judge will decide whether the order shall remain permanently in effect.
Forms Required for California Ex Parte Child Custody Order
The court requires various forms to file a California ex parte child custody order. As mentioned above, ex parte orders are only available under emergency circumstances. You will need to convince the judge that great injury will be caused if the court does not make an immediate order. The following forms are required to get a California ex parte child custody order:
Request for Order – FL 300
Temporary Orders – FL 305
Declaration Under Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) – FL 105
Declaration Regarding Notice and Service of Request for Temporary Emergency Orders – FL 303
Application for Order and Supporting Declaration – FL 310
Child Custody and Visitation Application Attachment – FL 311
Proof of Service – FL 330
All of these forms can be found on the court’s website. In addition, complete FL 150 Income and Expense Declaration if you are asking for a child support order. Keep in mind that the court will not decide on child support until the last hearing. You may need to complete other forms depending which county you plan to file your ex parte RFO.
Getting Your Ex Parte Matter in Front of a Judge
First, file the original documents with the court clerk. They will give you a date and time for the hearing. Next, you will need to serve the filed copies on the opposing party or their attorney. Keep in mind, you must call the opposing party by 10:00 a.m. the court day before the ex parte date to provide notice of the hearing. You will need to tell them what orders you are asking the judge to grant. In addition, you will also need to tell them where and when the hearing will take place. If the child is in danger, there may be a way to avoid having to give the other parent advance notice of the ex parte proceeding. Lastly, you will need to serve the other party with the Ex Parte RFO documents. Although it varies by court, this typically must be done by 2:00 p.m. the court day before the ex parte hearing date. Contact A People’s Choice for more information about how we can help you get a California ex parte child custody order, and learn about other legal document preparation services we provide. We can help you prepare and file the documents you need for an ex parte child custody order request and save you thousands of dollars as compared to using an attorney.
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