What is it?

If you and the other parent are married and you do NOT want to get a divorce, legal separation, or annulment, you can start a case called a Petition for Custody and Support of Minor Children. This lets the court make custody and visitation orders and other orders.

You can also file this Petition if:
  • The parents signed a Voluntary Declaration of Paternity “POP” (usually done at the hospital) and it is with the State Office of Vital Statistics – a copy of the POP must be attached if you mark this box on the Petition, or
  • If paternity has been established through a judgment in a DCSS (also known as Department of Child Support Services) case in another county.

What are the restrictions?

Through the Petition for Custody and Support you are able to ask the judge to make orders regarding the issues of custody, visitation and child support only. If you are married and are requesting spousal support or property issues, you will need to file for a Dissolution of Marriage, Legal Separation or Nullity. You can contact the Self- Help Center for assistance with this process, or you can visit the California Court’s Self-Help Center website.