Make FL-260 Easier | Add Custody Details Quickly

California court form FL-260 is a short form to tell the court you're seeking a determination of child custody, visitation and support.

Unmarried parents are typically the ones who'd use this form. (If you seek to end your marriage, use FL-100 instead to open a case for divorce or legal separation.)

You can add detail to FL-260 by attaching a series of court forms or one parenting plan.

What is FL-260?

FL-260 (standing for "family law 260") is a petition to ask the court to determine custody of your child. The form title is Petition for Custody and Support of Minor Children.

Use this form if you're both already recognized as your child's legal parents and if one of these is true:

  • You're not married to each other
  • You're married to each other and haven't started a divorce or legal separation

California provides more forms that you can submit together with, or shortly after, FL-260. If you attach a parenting plan, you can skip all these:

Adding custody details to FL-260 quickly

FL-260 contains a text box for you to briefly describe the schedule you'd like. For example, you might write that the other parent should get alternating weekends.

But don't limit your request to what fits in that small box. You can make a Custody X Change calendar in minutes — including arrangements for holidays. Your Custody X Change parenting plan will describe the schedule with court-ready language and visuals.

For example, your visual calendar could show a typical weekend like this.

Similarly, FL-260 has a small text box to briefly describe any "other" parenting requests you have.

But the judge will more fully understand your request if you present a parenting plan to describe your ideal custody arrangement.

The Custody X Change parenting plan template guides you to create this document quickly.

Detail your sole or joint custody arrangement by choosing from over 100 provision categories. Specify who can make which decisions, whether you'll try mediation when you can't agree and more.

Then write "See attached parenting plan" in the two FL-260 boxes pictured above to point your judge to your proposed document.

Attach your parenting plan, and write "Attachment to FL-260, paragraphs 4d and 7" at the top.

Why make a parenting plan

Not only does the Custody X Change online app suggest parenting rules you may not have thought to include, it makes it easy for you to fill out and customize your document.

Custody X Change also gives you:

  • An expense tracker: Record your parenting expenses in a professional format, request reimbursement from your co-parent and print this history for court.
  • A parenting journal: If you aren't able to agree on custody, use a journal to prove to the judge that you're an involved, capable parent.
  • A digital custody calendar: Set notifications for upcoming exchanges and calculate your parenting time.
  • Easy access to your information: After your case, if you forget what you agreed to or what the court ordered, consult what you've saved in the app.

Other tips for using FL-260

  • You'll have to pay around $450 to open your case. If you can't afford this, you can apply for a fee waiver.
  • After submitting FL-260, you'll receive a case number.
  • Make copies of FL-260 and any other key documents (e.g., your proposed parenting plan) and serve them on the other parent. You won't get a custody hearing until you do this.
  • Be prepared to provide your financial information when the court asks for it, as child support must be addressed.
  • If at any point the two of you reach a full settlement on parenting issues, complete FL-355 to submit your agreement to the court.

Making a parenting plan with Custody X Change

Custody X Change helps you make a thorough parenting plan quickly.

It walks you through common parenting rules you can include.

And it helps you create a custody schedule, complete with holidays and school breaks.

With Custody X Change, you can also journal about updates in your situation, store your children's information, track expenses, and more.

Custody X Change makes co-parenting simple for California parents.

Explore examples of common schedules

Explore common schedules

Join the 60,000+ other parents who have used our co-parenting tools

Organize your evidence

Track your expenses, journal what happens, and record actual time. Print organized, professional documents.

Co-parent civilly

Our parent-to-parent messaging system, which detects hostile language, lets you collaborate without the drama.

Get an accurate child support order

Child support is based on parenting time or overnights in most jurisdictions. Calculate time instead of estimating.

Succeed by negotiating

Explore options together with visual calendars and detailed parenting plans. Present alternatives and reach agreement.

Never forget an exchange or activity

Get push notifications and email reminders, sync with other calendar apps and share with the other parent.

Save up to $50,000 by avoiding court

Write your parenting agreement without lawyers. Our templates walk you through each step.

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