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Custody and Visitation


This guide is intended to provide information to parents seeking custody and visitation orders for their child(ren). Non-parents may obtain custody of a minor through a guardianship (see the “Guardianship” guide on our website at http://www.saclaw.org/pages/guardianship.aspx). If you are not a parent, but are seeking visitation with a child, see the “Grandparent Visitation” guide on our website at http://www.saclaw.org/pages/grandparent-visitation.aspx.

SELF HELP 
These books are highly regarded “plain English” explanations of the law, written by attorneys or other legal experts. They include basic legal discussion and procedures. Many of the titles include forms with instructions, and models of other documents that may be required. Some of the books have CDs that supplement the text and provide interactive forms.

Books:   

California


General

  • Building a Parenting Agreement that Works: Child Custody Agreements Step by Step KF 547 .L97 (Self Help)
  • Father's Rights: The Best Interest of Your Child Include You KF 540 .Z9 G76 (Self Help)
  • A Judge's Guide to Divorce: Uncommon Advice From the Bench
    KF 535 .Z9 D857 (Self Help)
    Electronic Access: From any computer (library or home) via the Legal Information Reference Center. Instructions are available on our website at http://www.saclaw.org/pages/nolo-ebooks.aspx.
  • Nolo's Essential Guide to Divorce KF 535 .Z9 D67 (Self Help)
    Electronic Access: From any computer (library or home) via the Legal Information Reference Center. Instructions are available on our website at http://www.saclaw.org/pages/nolo-ebooks.aspx.
  • Unmarried Parents Rights (and Responsibilities) KF 547 .Z9 S73 (Self Help)
  • Your Right to Custody, Visitation and Support KF 547 .Z9 B65 (Self Help)

Parenting These books provide practical advice to parents for making the most of the time they have with their children, coping with uncooperative parents, and helping their children deal with custody and visitation issues.

  • How to Parent with Your Ex: Working Together for Your Child's Best Interest 
    KF 547 .S45 (Self Help)
  • Joint Custody with a Jerk: Raising a Child with an Uncooperative Ex
    HQ 777.5 R67 (Self Help)
  • The Visitation Handbook HQ 759 .S456 (Self Help)

PRACTICE GUIDES
Although treatises and practice guides are written for attorneys, people representing themselves may also find these resources useful. These materials provide more detailed information than the self-help books.

 Books:

  • California Child Custody Litigation and Practice KFC 130 .C34
    Electronic Access: On the Law Library's computers, using OnLaw.
  • California Civil Practice: Family Law LitigationKFC 115 .A6 B36
    Electronic Access:  On the Law Library's computers, using WestlawNext.
  • California Domestic PartnershipsKFC 115 .C336
    Electronic Access: On the Law Library's computers, using OnLaw.
  • California Family Law for Paralegals KFC 115 .W35
  • California Family Law Litigation Guide KFC 115 .C37
    Electronic Access: On the Law Library's computers, using the Matthew Bender CD.
  • California Family Law: Practice and Procedure KFC 115 .L87
    Electronic Access: On the Law Library's computers, using the Matthew Bender CD.
  • California Forms of Pleading and Practice
    KFC 1010 .A65 C3 (Ready Reference). Vols. 18 and 19, "Dissolution of Marriage,"
    Vol. 5 Chap. 23, "Annulment."
    Electronic Access: On the Law Library's computers, using the Matthew Bender CD.
  • California Marital Settlement and Other Family Law Agreements KFC 126 .W34
    Electronic Access: On the Law Library's computers, using OnLaw.
  • California Practice Guide: Family Law KFC 115 .H64 R8
    Electronic Access: On the Law Library's computers, using WestlawNext.
  • Complex Issues in California Family LawKFC 115 .G72
  • Creating Effective Parenting Plans: A Developmental Approach for Lawyers and Divorce Professionals KF 547 .H378
  • Dissolution Strategies: from Intake to Judgment KFC 126 .D57
  • Family Law Practice Nuts and BoltsKFC 115 .A75 C35
  • Mediating Child Custody Disputes KF 547 .S26
  • Practice Under the California Family Code KFC 126 .P7
    Electronic Access: On the Law Library's computers, using OnLaw.
  • The Scientific Basis for Child Custody Decisions KF 547 .A7 S38

FORMS
Child custody and visitation cases require the use of mandatory statewide Judicial Council forms, as well as some Sacramento County local forms. Samples of completed forms are available in many of the books listed above. Blank forms are available from the following resources:

Books: 

Websites:

Sacramento County Court Forms Packets (http://saccourt.ca.gov/family/custody-visitation.aspx).
Both the Judicial Council and Sacramento County local forms are required to request or modify a custody and visitation order. The court's website provides forms packets that include detailed instructions for completing the forms and filing with the court.

STATUTES
All of the materials listed above will refer you to sections of California Codes. The codes are available in the library and online.

Books:

  • Deering's California Code Annotated KFC 30.5 .D4 (Compact)          
  • West's Annotated California Codes KFC 30 .W48 
Websites:  WEBSITES
  • California Courts' Self-Help website (http://courts.ca.gov/1019.htm)
    Excellent comprehensive website for information, court rules, and forms. 
  • Divorce Help Line (www.divorcehelp.com)  
    Legal and practical information on all aspects of divorce, including custody and visitation. This website links to the Divorce Helpline, a fee-based service of attorneys and other legal experts available to answer your questions and provide assistance. 
  • Nolo Press Self-Help Law Center (www.nolo.com)
    Contains legal information geared to non-attorneys. The website includes a law dictionary that translates legal jargon into plain English, and guides and forms that can be downloaded to your computer for a fee. 
  • Sacramento Superior Court Child Custody/Visitation Information (http://www.saccourt.ca.gov/family/custody-visitation.aspx)
    Provides information and forms for custody and visitation cases.

COMMUNITY RESOURCES
The Family Law Facilitator's office provides assistance with many aspects of custody and visitation. Assistance is provided through their "E-Correspondence" service (https://services.saccourt.ca.gov/flfoecorrespondence/), where you can ask questions and receive answers via secure email. 

updated 4/12 mpj