In family law proceedings, a party can request the court intervene on certain issues when an agreement cannot be reached.
What is a Request for Order [RFO]?
Parents who want an order relating to child custody and visitation must file a request for order (RFO) in order to generate a hearing in California family court. A request for order is the family law version of a ‘motion.’
Requesting an Order in CA Family Court
A request for order must be filed using the mandatory Judicial Council Form – FL-300. The form must be completed correctly, with all information being supplied and accurate. RFOs are governed by California Rule of Court, Rule 5.92.
The request for order form is a four-page form that provides the opposing party with notice of what is being sought with the motion, i.e. what orders you are requesting. The first page of the form provides the other side with the date and time of the hearing. When the RFO form is filed, the court clerk will fill in the hearing date based on the Court’s availability and calendar.
That form is not all that is needed to prevail in a child custody dispute, however. Generally, a declaration (also referred to as a “statement” or “affidavit”) needs to be attached setting forth the reasons for the request.
RFO Legal Requirements – How to File a Request for Order
The RFO must be fully completed and served on the responding party.
The responding party has a certain number of days to file a response and serve the response on the petitioning party. The response is a Responsive Declaration to Request for Order (FL-320). The response may also request relief related to the issues raised in the RFO.
The court schedules a time for the judge to hear the RFO. Both parties should attend the child custody hearing with their attorneys. The attorneys prepare their clients for the hearing and prepare the evidence to present at the hearing.
Request for Order Child Custody
Remember that except in emergency ex parte situations, RFOs related to child custody require the parties to first attend family court mediation before making their respective arguments to the judge at a hearing on the RFO. In emergency ex parte cases, the court may make orders with very little notice of the RFO to the other side and without the parties having attended mediation; however, emergency ex parte orders in child custody cases are always considered temporary until the parties have had a chance to attend mediation and conduct a subsequent hearing on the issues related to the RFO.
Request for Order Hearing – What to Expect
The judge will have already reviewed the documents submitted by both sides, but may have some questions for the attorneys. This is also when oral argument is presented by both sides in support of his/her position.
If you are considering filing a request for order, keep in mind that just because a party is not familiar with the law or court procedure, does not mean the family law judge will be lenient on those rules and procedures. Simply because the court allows you to represent yourself in a family court hearing, does not mean it is in your best interest.
It is best to consult with a family law attorney before attempting to file a request for order in a family law matter to avoid costly mistakes with significant long-term consequences.
California’s family law procedures are complex and trying to navigate them without help of a California family lawyer can be frustrating. If you have questions about family law procedures, contact our accomplished and dedicated family law, divorce, and child custody lawyers by calling (844) 4-TALKOV (825568) or contact us online for a free consultation with our experienced family law attorney, Colleen Talkov, who can guide you through the court process in a prompt and clear manner.