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Filing for Child Custody

Filing for child custody is one of the important legal proceedings, that is often associated with divorce, annulment and legal separation. This article provides some information about the procedure.
AptParenting Staff
Child custody is one of the important issues related to certain types of legal proceedings. They include litigation regarding guardianship, child abuse, termination of parental rights, adoption, legal separation, divorce, domestic violence, paternity case, etc. However, the rising number of divorces makes it the single most cause for child custody issues. While most parents reach a mutual agreement regarding child custody, some of them fight vehemently for sole custody of the child. Irrespective of the type of case, you have to file an application for child custody.
How to File for Child Custody
Child custody is one of the sensitive and emotional issues associated with certain legal proceedings. There are various types of child custody. They include legal custody, physical custody, joint custody, and sole custody. It is always better for the couple to reach a mutual agreement, rather than fighting for their demands. So, you have to file a proper application for child custody, before the appropriate court.
  • You have to find out the appropriate court to file the application, as it may vary with the type of case. If you have any confusion, refer to the government website or else, call up the county clerk's office or the Mayor's office; and collect information about the court that hears child custody cases. You may also seek the help of an attorney.
  • Child custody application forms are usually available in such courts. In some regions, such forms can be downloaded from the court's website.
  • You can do the filing for child custody by yourself (child custody 'pro se') or through an attorney, who can be appointed to represent you in the court.
  • If you go for the first option, all you have to do is to fill the form, and file it in person or through mail. Some courts may allow you to file the application through fax too.
  • Filling the application can be difficult as it requires some legal expertise. The court staff may or may not help you in filling the form and completing the formalities.
  • You will be required to furnish information regarding the child and the parents, and the type of child custody, you are applying for.
  • Filing for child custody comes with a corresponding fee, which has to be paid. You may also apply for a fee waiver, if you are unable to pay the fee and costs.
  • Once the court receives the application form and documents, a hearing date will be assigned, and you have to be present before the court, on that day.
If you want to do this task for yourself, gain some knowledge about the child custody laws in your state. Legal provisions for child custody issues may vary from one state to another. Any mistake on your side cannot be justified as an unawareness of the law or legal proceedings. So, if you are not sure of the laws, contact an attorney to get a basic idea about the legal proceedings. He can also offer you legal advice regarding the type of custody and other related issues. It will always be better to seek the services of an attorney, unless you are sure of the law and legal proceedings.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert advice.