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When faced with a child custody case in San Diego, you want a resolution as soon as possible. When beginning, you will want to know how long it is going to take before the court can issue an order.

Some custody cases resolve within weeks, while others take years. If you and your co-parent strongly disagree about custody, prepare to have the case drag for longer than expected.

For a quicker resolution, it’s advisable to have some agreements with your co-parent. While this isn’t always possible it is worth trying to move your case along. If you cannot reach an agreement, you will need to go to court order to obtain an enforceable custody order.

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What is Required to Obtain a Court Date for your Custody Case?

While there is no one-size-fits-all waiting period to obtain a child custody order in San Diego, several factors come into play in the process of filing a custody case. The timeline to obtaining a court date can be lengthened depending on how long it takes to:

  • Fill out the required forms detailing your request to the court;
  • Make copies and file the request;
  • Serve the papers to the other party; and
  • Fill out the proof of service through the person who serves the paperwork to the other party and get filed.

Gathering the necessary evidence including texts, emails, photos, can take some time and you will want to have all your ducks in a row to support your position. Also, it can take time to serve someone personally as they may not want to be served. However, these steps need to be completed in order to have your custody request properly before the court. Notice is required.

What is the Typical Length of Time to Obtain an Order?

From the time the request for custody orders is filed, until an order is in hand, it takes roughly 6 months. San Diego requires parties to participate in Family Court Services Mediation prior to the hearing. You will have two dates, the first being Family Court Services and then the second being your court date. Mediation will try and assist the parents in coming to an agreement, if not, a recommendation will be made. The parties will appear at the court hearing and argue their respective positions. An order is made and is enforceable that day. The paper order must be prepared which takes a few weeks to get signed and filed.

What Factors Prolong the Child Custody Process?

The child custody process can be rocky and marred with various obstacles delaying the outcome. Judges responsible for making orders must weigh multiple factors to ensure their decisions align with the best interests of the child such as:

  • How do the parents get along: Are the parents co-parenting well and can they be trusted to do civil exchanges? Are they going to discuss decisions with each other and ensure the child is put first?
  • Distance Between Houses: Do the parents live close to each other so the drive is a small impact on the child? Are there any issues with the commute to and from school?
  • Status Quo: How did the parents divide the workload during their relationship or marriage? Was one parent a stay at home parent while the other worked?
  • How old is the child: Is the child an infant and still breastfeeding? Do we have school age children used to spending time with both parents? Do we have teenagers who have a say?

Hire a Skilled Child Custody Lawyer to Expedite Your Child Custody Case

The child custody process is an emotionally charged experience. Knowing the outcome is entirely out of your hands can worsen your anxiety. However, with legal representation from an experienced child custody attorney, you can enhance your chances of securing your child custody order within a reasonable period of time.

The attorneys at Minella Law Group are a team of skilled family lawyers.

Our team will make the process easier by advocating zealously for your rights. We know how stressful custody cases can be, and we will take the stress off your back. Contact us today to schedule an initial case assessment.



[this article has been updated for 2024]

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