Request for orders

How to File a Request for Order

Filing a Request for Order (RFO) is a crucial step when you need the court to establish or change orders related to child custody, support, or spousal maintenance. This guide will walk you through each step of this process, ensuring you’re prepared to advocate for your needs effectively.

Understanding the Request for Order

A Request for Orders (RFO) is a formal request made to the court to issue orders regarding specific issues within a family law case. This could include requests for child custody and visitation arrangements, child or spousal support, modifications to existing orders, or any other matters that require legal intervention or adjustment by the court.

Individuals might need to file an RFO when there are significant changes in circumstances that necessitate adjustments to existing court orders, or when initiating orders related to the care and financial support of children, division of marital assets, or establishing spousal support in cases of separation or divorce. Essentially, an RFO is needed whenever a party seeks the court’s assistance to establish, modify, or enforce orders in family law matters.

How to File a Request for Orders:

  1. Complete the Necessary Forms: Fill out the required legal forms meticulously. In California, this typically includes the FL-300 form. You will using this form to explain to the court what order you want and why the court should order that way. If you need multiple orders, in order to save on time and filing fees, you should can use the same form to ask for some other orders. For example, you may be able to use the same form to ask for a child support and custody order. This way the court can decide both issues at the same time. 

    Alongside the FL-300 form, additional forms may be required depending on the specifics of the request. These additional forms are necessary to provide the court with all the information needed to make an informed decision on your request, especially in cases involving child support, spousal support, custody, or visitation. Here are some scenarios where additional forms are needed and the forms you might need to complete:
    • Child Support or Spousal Support Requests:
      • Income and Expense Declaration (Form FL-150): This form details your financial situation, providing the court with information about your income, expenses, assets, and debts.
      • Supporting Financial Documents: Along with the FL-150, you’ll need to attach proof of income, such as recent pay stubs for the last to months or a profit and loss statement if self-employed. This documentation supports your claims about your financial situation.
    • Custody or Visitation Requests:
      • Child Custody and Visitation Application Attachment (Form FL-311): When requesting changes to custody or visitation, this form allows you to provide detailed information about the proposed custody arrangement, visitation schedule, and any other specifics relevant to the parenting plan.
      • Declaration Under Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) (Form FL-105): If your case involves custody, you may need to complete this form, which provides information about the child’s current and past residences, helping the court determine if it has jurisdiction over the custody case.
    • Requests Involving Domestic Violence:
      • Request for Domestic Violence Restraining Order (Form DV-100): If you’re seeking a restraining order within the context of your family law case, this form initiates that request, detailing the incidents of violence and the protection you’re seeking.
    • Declaration Forms for Additional Information:
      • Declaration (Form MC-031): This form is used when you need to provide more detailed explanations or additional information that doesn’t fit in the main forms. It can be attached to any filing to supplement your request.
      • Attached Declaration (Form MC-025): Similar to MC-031, this form allows you to include more extensive information, supporting your case with additional details not covered in the primary forms.
  2. File Your Forms with the Court: Submit your completed forms to the court clerk, along with the filing fee. If you cannot afford the fee, you may qualify for fee waiver. Check HERE for more information on fee waivers
  3. Serve the Other Party: Law requires that the other party be formally notified of your request. Have someone else serve the papers to the other party, following the court’s rules for service.
  4. Prepare for Your Court Date: Gather any additional evidence or documents that support your case. Consider consulting with a legal professional to refine your argument and anticipate possible responses from the opposing party.
  5. Attend the Hearing: Present your case to the judge, focusing on how your request serves the best interests of the child (in custody cases) or is justified based on financial changes (in support cases).

What Happens at a Request for Order Hearing?

At a Request for Order (RFO) hearing in family law, several key steps occur as the court considers the request being made. Here’s a general overview of what happens:

  1. Presentation of the Case: Both parties have the opportunity to present their case to the judge. This includes making oral arguments, presenting evidence, and possibly calling witnesses to support their positions regarding the orders being requested.
  2. Legal Representation: Both parties may be represented by attorneys, who will speak on their behalf, though individuals also have the option to represent themselves (in pro per).
  3. Review of Submitted Documents: The judge will review the RFO along with any supporting documents submitted by both parties, such as financial declarations, written arguments, and evidence supporting the need for the requested order.
  4. Hearing Testimonies: If necessary, the court may hear testimonies from the parties involved, witnesses, or experts to gather more information on the matter at hand, especially in complex cases involving child custody or financial disputes.
  5. Judge’s Questions: The judge may ask questions to clarify points, understand the positions of each party better, and gather additional information needed to make a decision.
  6. Temporary Orders: Depending on the case’s urgency, the judge might make temporary orders on the day of the hearing to address immediate needs until a final decision can be made.
  7. Final Decision: The judge will either make a decision at the end of the hearing or take the matter under submission, which means the decision will be made and communicated at a later date. Once decided, the judge will issue orders that reflect their judgment on the matters requested.
  8. Explanation of Next Steps: Before concluding the hearing, the judge or court staff will explain the next steps, including how and when the orders will be formalized and any actions the parties must take following the hearing.

A Request for Order is an essential step in family law to address the evolving needs of families. By following these steps and preparing thoroughly, you can effectively advocate for the necessary legal adjustments to support and custody arrangements, ensuring they reflect your current circumstances and serve the best interests of those involved.

Contact Our Family Law Attorneys Today

If you need family law services in Orange County or Los Angeles, contact us today. We are here to offer you knowledgeable, compassionate, and assertive legal assistance in all aspects of family law.


he timeline can vary, but expect several weeks to months from filing to the hearing.

Generally, custody orders require a demonstrable change in circumstances that affects the child’s welfare.

Yes, you can represent yourself (in pro per). However, considering the legal complexities and potential implications of the orders, consulting with or hiring an attorney is often beneficial.

If the other party opposes your request, they will file a response outlining their objections. The judge will consider both sides during the hearing before making a decision. It’s crucial to present a strong case supported by evidence and, if possible, legal representation.

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