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Start a Custody Case

Do It Yourself

We have an online form preparation program available that will ask you to answer questions that are used to complete the forms needed to start a Custody and Support Case. This program will also allow you to print or eFile all the completed necessary forms.

Do It Yourself- Start a Custody Case

If you would like the Self-Help Center / Family Law Facilitator's Office to review your forms before you file, then do not make copies until after the Center has reviewed your documents.

Forms Needed To Start a Case

The following forms will be needed to start a custody case:

  • FL-210 Summons
  • FL-260 Petition for Custody & Support of Minor Children
  • FL-311 Custody Visitation Attachment
  • FL-105 UCCJEA
  • FL013 Statement of Venue
  • FL-150 Income and Expense Declaration

Where to Get Forms


For free, you can visit the California Courts website forms section. 

Court Clerk’s Office:

For $5, you may obtain a packet of blank forms from:

San Luis Obispo Courthouse Annex
1050 Monterey St., Room 220

Paso Robles Courthouse
901 Park St. Room 105

Costs Involved

Court Filing Fee:

The Court will charge a filing fee of $435 to file this case. If you cannot afford to pay the filing fee, you will also need to complete the fee waiver forms below.  If you do not qualify for a fee waiver, you must bring money to pay the filing fee. 

FW-001 Request to Waive Court Fees
FW-003 Order on Court Fee Waiver

Overview of the Process

Complete Forms:

Complete all the forms listed above.

Make Copies:

Take originals and 2 copies to the courthouse. Bring money to pay the filing fee if you do not qualify for a fee waiver. The clerk will assign a case number, file your originals and return the 2 copies to you.

Give the Other Party a Copy of Legal Papers:

The other party must receive a copy of all the legal papers, in addition to a Notice of Case Assignment and a blank FL-270 Response, blank FL-105 UCCJEA and blank FL-150 Income and Expense Declaration. The person giving the other party these papers could be a friend, relative, private process server or the Sheriff’s Department. This person must also be 18 years or older and cannot be you. This is called “personal service.” If the other party won’t take the papers, it is okay to drop the papers at their feet. Do not give the other party the original FL-115 Proof of Service of Summons. The person who gave the legal documents to the other party must sign and complete the FL-115 Proof of Service of Summons and return it to you so that you may file it with the Court.

Wait 30 days:

Wait 30 days after the papers were given to the other party. If the other party decides to file a FL-270 Response, a copy of it should have been mailed to you.

Attend Parenting Class:

If you have minor children, you must complete the online parenting class that deals with the impact of divorce and separation on children. The class is free and you can register online or call (805) 781-5423 for more information about the class.

Decide How to Proceed with Your Case - Choose A, B, or C:

A. Default:

If no FL-270 Response was filed, you may proceed by default and request to obtain the orders you requested in your FL-260 Petition.

B. Uncontested:

Regardless of whether a FL-270 Response was filed, if you and the other party agree on all the issues in your case, you may prepare a Stipulated Judgment.

C. Trial:

If a FL-270 Response was filed and no agreement can be reached, the judge will decide all the issues in your case.

Prepare Your Final Judgment:

You will need to prepare your final judgment along with other necessary documents. When the judge signs your final judgment, your case will be finalized. See the Family Law Facilitator for detailed instructions.

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