I am in Calif as well and VERY interested in this thread.
Sorry you are confused with the process. I myself know nothing of it, but
got to googling for our state as I would like something more legal with the father of my dd as well. We are not married but he did sign declaration of parentage at the hospital.
This site has been extremely informative... check it out, has all the forms too.http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/selfhelp...tm#bestprocess
This part I found very helpful -What is the process for getting a custody and visitation court order?
In most cases, parents can make their own agreements for custody and visitation. If you and the other parent agree on custody, the judge will probably approve your agreement and it will become a court order. After the judge signs your agreement, file it with the court clerk.
for more help on writing up a custody and visitation agreement or parenting plan.
If you cannot agree, the judge will send you to mediation and a mediator from Family Court Services will help you. If you still cannot agree, you and the other parent will meet with the judge. Generally, the judge will then decide your custody and visitation schedule.
In some cases, the judge may appoint an evaluator to do a custody evaluation and recommend a parenting plan. A parent can also ask for an evaluation, but the request may not be granted. Parents may have to pay for an evaluation.
The judge also may appoint lawyers for children in custody cases. The judge will also decide who will pay for the child’s lawyer’s fees.
Hope this helps... I will be checking into it further myself.
ETA: Cycle , I would like the information you have if you could pm me....? Thanks in advance.