• How to transfer a family law case to another county

Transfer a Family Law Case to Another County

Wondering how to transfer a family law case to another county? If so, it is important for you to understand how California determines the correct court for a family law case. California Code of Civil Procedure section 397.5 allows a family law case to be moved to another county if one of the following situations can be proven to the court:

• The court determines that the Petition was not filed in the proper court;
• A fair trial would not be possible in the current court;
• The current court is not convenient to the parties and witnesses;
• There is no judge qualified to hear the case in the current court; or
• When the other party (respondent) lives in a different county and justice would be better achieved by changing the court.

Also, the court can grant a motion to transfer a family law case to another county if both parties agree to the venue change request.

“My ex-wife and I had both moved from where our divorce was filed. Every time someone filed papers we each had to travel over 2 hours to the Santa Barbara courthouse.” R. Colligan
“Since the court was no longer close to either of us, A People’s Choice helped me file a motion to transfer and move my case to LA where I resided which made it much easier since I had custody of our kids!” R. Colligan

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or call 1-800-747-2780

How to Transfer a Family Law Case to Another County

People often call us to ask how to transfer a family law case to another county. The most common reason people want to transfer a family law case to another county is because the court is no longer convenient. Usually this happens when neither party lives in the county where the case was originally filed. In order to transfer a family law case to another county, a motion, also called a Request for Order, must be filed. This motion is the legal process of asking the court to move the case to another court. The most important part of the motion is the supporting declaration. The supporting declaration is submitted with the Motion. The declaration is the document that explains why a person wants their family law case moved to another county. A well-written declaration can be a key reason a Judge approves a motion for change of venue. As a result, A People’s Choice spends a substantial amount of time making sure that the declaration is clear and concise as it is the foundation of the motion itself.

The Motion must be filed in the court where the family law case was originally filed (divorce, child custody, etc). Once the motion is filed, a hearing date will be set. The motion will need to be served on the other party. The other party can file a response to the motion if they do not agree with the request. In their response, they will have a chance to explain why they feel the motion should be denied.

At the hearing, the judge may ask questions to both parties. Obviously it is best if both parties agree to have the matter moved to a different county. This would make it easy for the court to approve the request to have the venue changed. After the hearing, an Order should be available to present to the Judge.

A party may seek to move any of the following types of family law cases to another venue:

• Divorce, Legal Separation or Annulment
• Petition to Change Child Support Order Entered in a Divorce
• Venue for Petition to Change a Final Divorce Order

Once the court has approved an order changing venue, the case will be able to be moved to the other county. Keep in mind, this change will also require the moving party to pay another first appearance court filing fee to the county where the case is being moved to. Contact A People’s Choice for more information on how to transfer a family law case to another county and change the venue of your proceedings. We can help you prepare all of the documents you need to get a court order.

Get help with your Legal documents today!

A People’s Choice can save you hundreds of dollars by preparing your legal documents instead of an expensive attorney!


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By |2018-01-18T15:46:38-07:00September 14th, 2016|Family Law|58 Comments

About the Author:

Sandra M. McCarthy, founder of A People’s Choice Inc., has worked exclusively in the legal field since 1976. She served as the 2004-2005 President of CALDA (California Association of Legal Document Assistants). She obtained a Paralegal Certificate from the University of California, Santa Barbara. During her career in the legal field, she has worked as a freelance paralegal, law office manager and paralegal studies teacher, and has co-authored numerous legal publications and written hundreds of self-help legal articles. As a registered Legal Document Assistant, Sandy is dedicated to providing affordable, low-cost, self-help document preparation services for California consumers in all 58 counties.


  1. jonathan clarke May 17, 2019 at 10:53 am - Reply

    Im currently living with the mother of my son and she wont take me off child support when she said she was how to i go about it .

    • Sandy McCarthy May 19, 2019 at 3:48 pm - Reply

      You probably should file a formal motion to terminate support to cancel the earlier order. Call us for help at 800-747-2780.

  2. Mayra N March 31, 2019 at 4:35 pm - Reply

    If I currently live with the father of my child on Ventura county, we have court dates in a month and I need to get out his house by then, can I move to another county inside the state of California? Before the court dates

    • Sandy McCarthy April 10, 2019 at 6:00 pm - Reply

      Probably best to wait until this is a final judgment and decision regarding custody and visitation.

  3. Mickey Allen March 11, 2019 at 7:22 pm - Reply

    I stay in a different county, but she requested child support order in a different county than where she resides, i just received a letter today, can i deny the request to another county

    • Sandy McCarthy March 17, 2019 at 1:57 pm - Reply

      You most certainly want to respond to any paperwork you have received. If you need help, give us a call at 800-747-2780.

  4. Donnie A York March 6, 2019 at 5:53 pm - Reply

    Were in Ohio, we moved and the open cps case was transferred. The prior county filed for reunification and transfer at the same time. They case was moved 1st. The new county wants us to start the whole thing over, its been about a year. Can they do that?

    • Sandy McCarthy March 8, 2019 at 6:26 am - Reply

      I cannot answer this question. I would assume each county has their own rules. You may want to talk to an attorney if you feel you need legal advice.

  5. Daimein Hayter February 26, 2019 at 3:25 am - Reply

    Hi I have 2 separate cfs cases pending neither of which involve any domestic violence or child abuse. On several occasions During proceedings the presiding judge has made references or comments during proceedings in regards to the wrong case. So much so that the attorney for the social and for my child has had to say to her “your honor this is not that case”. This is the presiding judge in both cases. Because of this I do not believe I can be judged fairly or impartialy in either case. I would like to have my cases moved to a different county because of this and would like to know if there are any legal grounds to do so?

  6. J.t February 17, 2019 at 8:26 pm - Reply

    I was granted a change of venue from san diego to orange county. The judge ordered family facilators to prepair the oah. They told me they are backed up for at least 2 months. Is that going to put me outside of the time requirement for me to open in orange county? Also i was the respondant in sd, will i still be respindent in orange? Do i file a new case and just notice of related case?

    • Sandy McCarthy February 20, 2019 at 8:20 pm - Reply

      I do not believe it would be appropriate to file a new case. You may want to prepare the Order After Hearing on your end if that’s faster.

  7. Kate January 14, 2019 at 12:38 pm - Reply

    Hi, I would like to transfer my Child Support case from San Diego to San Bernardino. My ex-husband lives out of state, so can he still have a say in moving or not our case, considering he is not even in CA anymore?

    • Sandy McCarthy January 17, 2019 at 9:10 am - Reply

      We can certainly help you file a change of venue motion, and based on your facts, it would seem the court should grant it. Give us a call at 800-747-2780.

  8. Jennifer Crouch January 11, 2019 at 11:17 pm - Reply

    My son’s father and I have a custody agreement filed through Ventura Cty. He got a 2nd DUI with our son in the car. CPS stepped in and said if I don’t get sole custody of my son that they would put him in foster care. I got some advice through free legal side and was told my son had to be living out here in Nevada for 6 months before I could file. After he was I filed. His father was served at the end of May out at his home in Santa Paula. He had 20 days to respond but never did. I filed a default out here in Nevada, then was told i need to file a request to change jurisdiction to the county myself and my son live in. Where do i get that paperwork? I looked online but I only saw them for changing county within Ca..

    • Sandy McCarthy January 11, 2019 at 11:35 pm - Reply

      I am not sure why you filed in Nevada if California is where your case was. I think you will need to seek relief from the California court. Give us a call for help.

  9. Rosario January 4, 2019 at 12:37 pm - Reply


    can the courthouse move a divorce case to a different courthouse based on “not convenient’? My brother got a notice that his case was moved to a different courthouse, he called his lawyer and his assistant said that neither party requested the change, that the court moved the case. Can that be true?

    • Sandy McCarthy January 5, 2019 at 9:27 pm - Reply

      Yes. Courthouses close and move divisions.

  10. Larkin Kelley November 25, 2018 at 11:02 am - Reply

    if an unmarried couple have 50/50 custody agreement in one county, and they move to another country without transferring their custody order, does the custody order still stand?

    • Sandy McCarthy December 1, 2018 at 3:23 am - Reply

      Are you talking about between between California counties or countries (USA to other country)

  11. Ryan October 26, 2018 at 11:13 am - Reply

    My ex-wife and I have an existing custody case in a county in California, however, I have relocated to South Carolina and she has relocated (with the children, and without notice) to Nevada.
    Are there particular forms necessary in order to get a change of venue to her current county of residence? Basically moving it out of state?

    • Sandy McCarthy October 27, 2018 at 2:01 pm - Reply

      Are you trying to change the order? You may want to call our office to discuss your ultimnate goal regarding this. Their may be an easier way to modify the order. You can reach us at 800-747-2780.

  12. MORGAN August 19, 2018 at 9:12 am - Reply

    My ex filed for visitation in a different county than I reside in with my children. I believe the documents he had his friend hand me are not correct and he did not include a blank response. Does a blank response NEED to be given to me for this to be a legal serve? We have court 8/28/18. I am blind in one eye and do not drive so it is very inconvenient for me to get up to his county of residence, which is 80 miles away. Are there are any rights I might have?

    • Sandy McCarthy August 21, 2018 at 4:23 pm - Reply

      We cannot advise you about your rights and remedies. Our role is simply preparing legal documents. You may want to call an attorney to see what your options are.

  13. Sandy McCarthy June 20, 2018 at 7:29 pm - Reply

    Unfortunately you will need to file a change of venue. Let us know if you need help with the paperwork. You may be able to appear st the hearing by phone.

  14. Jim June 20, 2018 at 2:37 pm - Reply


    My ex-wife was granted a move-away with my two children to the state of AZ some time ago and I live in Northern California and the case resides in San Bernardino (long story). Since I live in the state of CA, do you think the court would allow the case to be transferred to Northern California? As I do not have the means of equal access to the court.

    Thank you,

    • Sandy McCarthy June 20, 2018 at 7:25 pm - Reply

      Hi Jim – I really could not say what the court’s possible position would be.

  15. Chelsea March 19, 2018 at 5:33 pm - Reply

    Can I request a change in the county due to what I feel are biased opinions? The court and its honorary Judges and Commissioners seem to rule not so much in favor of the children, but in favor of the county – such as they will not allow a change in school because their children attend the same/ are in the same school district and they believe it to be awesome. There seems to be favoritism to one party vs the other due to one of the parties and the judges sharing common interests in the town. Is that enough of a basis to ask for a change of county?

    • Sandy McCarthy March 20, 2018 at 10:35 pm - Reply

      You may want to speak with a lawyer in the area. Sometimes they are aware of judge preferences and reasonings in these types of matters.

  16. Rhonda February 28, 2018 at 10:10 am - Reply

    My Ex is a Paralegal for the county our case is in, I feel there is a conflict of interest since he previously worked in the Domestic Violence Dept. Our DCSS attorney also knows and used to work with his boss. Would this be considered grounds to transfer a family law case to another county?

    • Sandy McCarthy March 1, 2018 at 1:27 am - Reply

      Unfortunately our office cannot advice you as to whether or not your situation would be sufficient grounds for a change of venue. I would suggest you talking with an attorney first to get some legal direction. Then, if you need help preparing the paperwork, you can contact our office for assistance with the change of venue.

  17. Yvonne January 10, 2018 at 12:49 am - Reply

    What documents do I need to file for a change of venue? Do I need to go to court and file?

    • Sandy McCarthy January 12, 2018 at 4:24 am - Reply

      Our office offers a free booklet for paying clients that identifies all of the necessary required forms to obtain a change of venue. The process does require a court appearance, and the other party would most likely have to be personally served.

  18. Olga January 2, 2018 at 6:57 pm - Reply

    How on gods green earth does my ex-husband of 10 plus years get off so easy? My kids and I are struggling while he gets to live life and have two roofs over his head. I’m trying so hard to get a place for me and my kids yet the judge grants him everything when the kids are with me ???? All I’m begging is for financial support for my kids and I. Being disabled trying to find help is hard. The san francisco courts are so wrong. Why can’t my case be where I live?

    • Sandy McCarthy January 3, 2018 at 5:00 am - Reply

      There are many factors that determine where a case can be heard. You may be able to ask for a change of venue if you qualify for such relief. I am so sorry you are having such a difficult time. Sometimes it is hard to understand how the law works as it can often seem unfair.

  19. Tomas December 21, 2017 at 5:56 am - Reply

    My ex took our children and disappeared. I filed a parenting plan and restraining order on her for the children because she has a history of abuse on them. It was granted, and she was ordered to immediately return them to my care, but I couldn’t find her to serve her. She filed in the county she lives in and was granted temperary custody. I missed court because she didn’t serve me, but told the courts she did. I put in a change of venue and the judge said she has to talk to the judge in my county before granting the change of venue. How can she get temp custody while she has an active restraining order against her for the children in another county?

    • Sandy McCarthy December 25, 2017 at 3:09 pm - Reply

      Sometimes when you have two conflicting orders in family law matters it gets a bit complicated. We would need to see all of the paperwork to see how we could help you with this particular matter. Please feel free to give us a call at 800-747-2780.

  20. Stephanie bernabe November 15, 2017 at 2:13 am - Reply

    My ex has family that work for the county he lives in , i believe strongly theres a conflict of interest because tge judge dismisses all concerns for the child and dismisses professional willing to testify on her behalf due trauma and abuse he has also gotten aeay with in srminole couny i live in volusia county and so does the child. I need help transferring out of hos county, his attorney has even made it a point to inform the judge everytime his mother works for seminole county, he has charges (all dropped) nothing sticks and our little girl is terrified of him and is forced to stay with him, cause the judged refused to listen to her psycholigist cause she wasnt licensed as a mental health specialist yet and although othet judges grant it he Will not. Quote on quote. I need help ,and guidance

    • Sandy McCarthy November 17, 2017 at 4:24 am - Reply

      You definitely need to get legal advice from an attorney regarding this!

  21. Mia November 5, 2017 at 4:29 pm - Reply

    I was not notified of the custody order being transferred to another country until it was already done is that legal?

    • Sandy McCarthy November 6, 2017 at 1:56 pm - Reply

      I would suggest you pull the court file of the original case to see what documents were filed. You should have been served with all motions.

  22. Tracey September 7, 2017 at 8:40 pm - Reply

    My ex and I both moved to the same county (Riverside) at the same time. It was originally filed in LA county. I need to modify the order due to changes with our son. I was told I have to fill out the paperwork to have it transferred. Is this true.

    • Sandy McCarthy September 9, 2017 at 3:41 am - Reply

      If you want to move your court case to another county will have to file a motion for change of venue. At that point you can then file to modify your court order. You could also agree between the two of you to modify it and we can prepare the necessary paperwork. we can also help you prepare a motion for change of venue. Let us know if you need assistance by calling 800-747-2780.

  23. Estela September 6, 2017 at 7:34 am - Reply

    I recently moved to another county and want to change courts. The other parent lives in that county but it’s an hour drive for him and a 1 1/2 hour drive for me. I am the custodial parent and and i want to change the supervised exchanges, child support and restraining order to my county.

    • Sandy McCarthy September 7, 2017 at 1:34 am - Reply

      We could help you file a request for change of venue but it is really up to the court to determine whether or not that would be approved. please contact us at 800-747-2780 if you’d like help with the paperwork.

  24. Jennifer July 28, 2017 at 6:29 pm - Reply

    I have jurisdiction in all matter in San Diego county, but there was an active child support order in Riverside county,I have custody in San Diego. I filed a RFO and was just granted an order for change of venue. Will the support order stop in riverside county or be transferred to San Diego county for me to stop it in San Diego due to me having child custody.

    • Sandy McCarthy July 29, 2017 at 1:43 am - Reply

      I would think the separate support order would remain. I am assuming it was a DCSS support case?

  25. David July 21, 2017 at 5:36 am - Reply

    I was not notified of the custody order being transferred to another country until it was already done is that legal in ky

    • Sandy McCarthy July 21, 2017 at 2:09 pm - Reply

      We only deal with California law matters. I would suggest you talk to an attorney in Kentucky.

  26. Frank Neri April 14, 2017 at 8:05 pm - Reply

    My ex wife was granted the chance of venue in our divorce case and then didn’t file the appropriate forms or pay the fees. It has been 6 months. What happens to our case?

    • Sandy McCarthy April 15, 2017 at 1:50 pm - Reply

      If you contact our office we can look up the court docket and see where things stand, find out what additional matters you may want to file in the case and how best to do that. Our telephone number is 800-747-2780.

  27. Debbie Xiong April 14, 2017 at 4:17 pm - Reply

    Will both parties need to pay the fee to changing court venue from Sacramento to San Joaquin county one the Judge grants the transfer of venue?

    • Sandy McCarthy April 15, 2017 at 1:47 pm - Reply

      The fee is paid to open up a new case. It is not a “first appearance” fee. Let us know if you would like help with preparing the change of venue paperwork.

  28. Desha April 6, 2017 at 1:00 am - Reply

    Hello, the judge granted my request to transfer my custody case to another county within our state. I am the defendant and no longer need legal representation. 5 months after the transfer was granted, the plaintiff finally had the case transferred. The online court records does not show that I am represented by counsel but my attorney from the previous county insist that they represent me will not stop until there is a hearing for her to with draw. Please help.

    • Sandy McCarthy April 12, 2017 at 3:18 am - Reply

      Just request that they draw up a Substitution of Attorney putting you in the case as representing yourself and removing their office as attorney of record. They should be able to do that.

  29. Cynthia Mattingly February 12, 2017 at 6:02 am - Reply

    is there a particular form to use or just a standard motion? FL?

    • Sandy McCarthy February 15, 2017 at 4:42 am - Reply

      There are special forms that are required to file a motion for change of venue. Contact our office at 800-747-2780 for help.

  30. Heather January 9, 2017 at 10:05 pm - Reply

    Why would a retired sitting judge deny that I move my case from one to the next over. My son and I have moved and I thought it was a formality to put in a motion. He said no. What would be a reason for this

    • Sandy McCarthy January 10, 2017 at 1:39 am - Reply

      Typically the court will keep a case in the district it was originally filed if one of the parties still lives there. This is just a general statement and every situation is different.

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