Understanding Your Child Custody Case

child custody logoWhen a separation or divorce occurs, custody of the children will need to be determined as well. If the parents can’t decide on a plan on their own, a judge must decide the case. The family law court settles child custody disputes. Each jurisdiction has a court system designed for hearing family issues including child custody cases. Here is some custody help for starting a custody case.


There are two types of custody that may be decided during the case. The first is determining which parent will have temporary custody. Temporary custody is the initial period between separation and divorce. Permanent custody will be confirmed upon divorce. It is helpful if parents can come to a decision together that they both agree on. If parents can’t decide amicably, then both sides should have an attorney to represent their custody case.


The first step in filing a child custody case is to get all the forms that are necessary for your state. You can find these by visiting your state’s court website. Here you will find the forms necessary along with instructions for filling them out. You’ll also find information about how to file the forms. It’s usually easiest to print out the forms and fill them out off-line. This gives you a chance to review the instructions and locate all the information you need.


An experienced attorney will be able to guides clients through the process and will file the forms on your behalf. You don’t need to be a lawyer to file the case, but it can help. A lawyer knows the ins and outs of the process and will prepare the case properly. Even cases that seem relatively straightforward can easily become tangled and require help from an attorney.


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The custody case papers are filed by either emailing them or bringing them into the designated court in your area. Make certain that you have filled out the proper forms and that they have been filled out completely. If you have any inquiries about the forms, ask before you complete them. Leaving questions blank can cause a rejection of your entire form, and you’ll have to start the process again. You will need to pay a filing fee when you present your papers.


Once the custody papers are filed the court will assign a judge and a court date. There may be several court appearances needed-don’t expect everything to be settled on the first court appearance. Both parents must be present at the court date. If you don’t have an attorney, you will represent yourself. It is highly suggested that you have a lawyer even if your case may seem like an easy one. The court will decide the case, and you will receive a child custody order that you will need to adhere to. Any changes to the order will require another court appearance, so try to cover everything you need the first time.