To initiate the process, you will need to fill out California Form FL-300 "Order to Show Cause". This and other forms are available at the California Courts website.
Explaining the Circumstances
Complete Form FL-310 "Application for Order and Supporting Declaration". Ensure that the boxes in Part 1 are marked "Child Custody" and "Modify existing order." You can write your reasons to amend the existing child custody and provide supporting facts in Part 10 of the form, or you can attach a separate declaration. Consider discussing why the change in custody is in your child's best interests and they significant change in circumstances that justifies the chance in child custody.
Proofread, print and sign Form FL-300 and Form FL-310. Make copies for yourself, the other parent, any other involved parties and the court. Bring the original signed forms and the copies to your local family court.
Filing the Forms
File the FL-300 and FL-310 forms with California Superior Court. Write down your court date if the court clerk schedules a hearing in your case. Ask the court clerk whether you will need to attend a mediation. The Clerk may have you contact the mediation office for an appointment prior to setting the matter for hearing.
Serving the Papers
The papers will need to be served on the other parent. Arrange service by someone who is older than 18 and not a party to the case. Copies of the paperwork filed with the court will need to be served along with a blank copy of California Form FL-320. The forms should be personally delivered no later than 16 days before your scheduled court date. Give California Form FL-330, Proof of Personal Service, to the server to complete, sign and file with the court.
Attending the Hearing
Attend your scheduled court date at California Superior Court with copies of your filed paperwork and the filed Proof of Service form. Be prepared to explain to the court why the modified custody requested is in the child's best interests, the benefit to you and the change in circumstances warranting the change.
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