Child Custody Modifications by Mutual Agreement
People have a tendency to assume that issues concerning child custody are difficult and constantly in dispute. Fortunately, this generalization does not always hold true. Often times, parents are able to constructively work with one another when it comes to co-parenting their children. This makes things easier on their children, and it also makes issues such as child custody much less stressful.
Indeed, if the parents can reach an agreement on details concerning child custody, they may not even need to attend court to get a custody order put into place. This blog article aims to provide people in this situation with some guidance as to how to proceed.
The first step is to fill out Judicial Council form FL-355 (which can be found at this link: http://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/fl355.pdf). After filling out the appropriate case information (name of parties, location of court, case number, etc.), the parties will have two options to get an order into place, both of which are found in section 4 of the form. Section 4a permits the parties to simply write out their agreed custody arrangement in a separate document and attach it to the form. Section 4b makes things a bit easier, however, by simply attaching other Judicial Council forms which cover issues concerning: 1) custody and visitation schedules; 2) holiday schedules; 3) physical custody provisions; and 4) joint legal custody terms. All of these forms can be found at the following links:
- Form FL-341: http://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/fl341.pdf
- Form FL-341(A): http://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/fl341a.pdf
- Form FL-341(B): http://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/fl341b.pdf
- Form FL-341(C): http://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/fl341c.pdf
- Form FL-341(D): http://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/fl341d.pdf
- Form FL-341(E): http://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/fl341e.pdf
When filling out form FL-355 and its attachments, be careful to avoid filling in the portions of those forms which specify they are for “court use only.” After filling these forms out, simply file them with the appropriate court. In most cases, the court will issue an order based upon the child custody agreement of the parties.