If there is an existing action such as a Divorce, Legal Separation or Paternity Action, you may file an Order to Show Cause for temporary orders for child custody, visitation and support.  These orders can be modified at the Divorce, Legal Separation or Paternity Action trial or by subsequent Orders to Show Cause filings prior to the trial or after the judgment is entered.  This filing consists of:

  1. An Order to Show Cause
  2. An Application and Supporting Declaration

The paperwork is filed with the court, and a mediation date is set prior to the hearing date.  The other party is then served.  Even if one parent doesn’t show up to the mediation, the other must go.  The consequence of one parent not showing up is that the hearing stage may take longer.  This occurs because the judge will ask both parents to go to mediation at the time of the hearing. This will delay the court hearing and may cause it to be continued which could be time consuming and costly.  If one parent does not show up to the hearing, the other parent will have an advantage as there will be no opposition.

If the parties cannot or will not come to a parenting agreement which addresses custody and visitation, then the judge will make that decision, as well as a support decision, based on the evidence produced at the time of the hearing.  If the decision that is made is not acceptable by one of the parties, they cannot file another Order to Show Cause right away.  They need to follow the court order until there is a change of circumstance that would warrant going back to court.

For more information about Orders to Show Cause regarding child custody, visitation and support, contact Legal Action Workshop @ 800-HELP-444 (800-435-7444) or visit www.LegalActionWorkshopLAW.com .

Reader Interactions


  1. Melissa Mangan says

    There is an existing order for Custody & Visitation from Children and Family Service. So how can a Judgement be changed? The father didn’t do any of the classes he was ordered to.

    • Brenda Platt-Drucker says

      We can only comment on legal matters in California as your options may be different in other states. The Children & Family Services court is different from the ‘Family Court’. Typically you would file a Request for Order in the ‘Family Court’ using the existing order made in the ‘Children’s Court’ and in your declaration explain that the dad has not completed classes etc. It would be best that you speak with an attorney regarding this matter as there may be other factors that may need to be considered.
      I hope this helps!
      Thank-you for contacting us…you may call us @ 818-630-5503 for help if you are in Southern California.

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