Families Change Guide to Separation & Divorce

5.4 - Orders Made by the Court

5.4 - Orders Made by the Court

When an issue goes to family court, the judge can make decisions that are written as court orders. These orders can serve a range of different purposes. 

For example, when parents cannot agree on child custody or a parenting plan, the amount of support, or how to divide community property, either person may apply to the court to ask that a hearing be set so that the judge can make an order or change a previous agreement or order.

In California, the process begins when a party completes, files, and serves a Request for Order (form FL-300). 

The Request for Order (form FL-300) serves as a notice to the other party about the orders being requested.  The party receiving this notice has an opportunity to respond by filing and serving a Responsive Declaration to Request for Order (Form FL-320) before the hearing.

When the hearing is scheduled, parents will generally be referred to a child custody mediator or recommending counselor at the court to see if an agreement can be reached for a parenting plan. Usually the appointment takes place before the hearing.

At the hearing, the judge will consider the parties’ declarations and other evidence before making a decision. The judge’s decision is written up into a court order, or a modified order or judgment, served on the parties, and filed with the court.