How to Get a Custody Case Reopened
- 1). Draft your petition for custody. While the type of petition varies from state to state, it will generally be a Petition to Modify Custody. Enter the previous custody case information into the petition, and explain the basis for your request for a change. For instance, if you are requesting a change in custody based upon the other natural parent's conviction on a violent felony, include the felony caption for the court's reference.
- 2). File your petition in the courthouse where the child currently resides. Once you pay the filing fee (typically anywhere from $25 to $40), you will receive a stamped copy of the order. Provide notice (send a copy) of the order to the other natural parent along with any guardians which may have been appointed on the case. Use a special process server to en sure proper service. Once the other natural parent receives the petition, there will be a status date where they will be allowed to file a response, or request more time to prepare their case, after which the matter will be set for hearing.
- 3). Appear in court for a hearing on your petition. If the parties cannot come to an agreement, the court will have a hearing on your petition. The court is guided by the best interests of the child, and if you plead new factors which may harm the mental or physical health of the child, the court will modify the custody arrangement.