How to Get Legal Custody of Children
- 1). Ask for advice from friends and family who have been through a child custody case. They will be able to answer your basic questions about the process and may even help you find a lawyer.
- 2). Contact a child custody or family lawyer. This person will be able to counsel you about the costs involved, possible outcome, and how the case will be handled. Many attorneys offer a free consultation even if you do not choose to hire them.
- 3). Visit the county court that deals with child custody petitions and file your petition. Contact the county clerk or mayor's office for advice about which court to visit.
- 4). Make a list of all the questions you want to ask at the county clerk's office to ensure you understand the process. Questions to ask include what forms to fill out, how to fill out the forms, when a court date will be set, how you will be notified of the court date, whether there is a filing fee, how to qualify for free legal representation and whether you can fill out the proper paperwork at home.
- 5). Take the necessary information to the county clerk's office. You will probably need your children's birthday, home addresses, your work address and the Social Security numbers for you, your child and the other parent.
- 6). Complete all the necessary paperwork and file it in a timely manner. Be clear about the information you provide and make sure you fill out the entire form.
- 7). Prepare for your court date. This is the time most people choose to bring in legal representation. You are allowed to hire a lawyer at any point in the process, but you may benefit from legal counsel the most when you go before a judge. Child custody hearings are complex and a lawyer will be able to keep you informed during the process and make sure all deadlines are met.