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How to File for Custody of Your Children: With or Without an Attorney

Updated on December 11, 2010

Untangling the Web

One of the great American tragedies of our generation is the separation of children from loving parents. Divorce always causes some separation from both parents, but all too often loving, caring parents have had time with their own children minimized or reduced merely because of circumstances no one would have wanted for their children.

If you are a parent who has less than equal time with your children, or if the children’s other parent has brought unwanted influences into their lives, no doubt you want this to change. You want your children to have more time with you. And you know this may require a change of custody – or at least a change in the custodial relationship that presently exists.

Yet hiring an attorney to help you with this problem can be daunting. The cost of his or her services alone can be prohibitive. But even if you have the money to pay the attorney, the language he speaks, his detachment from your own circumstances, and the reality that he will never present everything you would if you were handling your own case – all make the prospect of hiring a lawyer unsavory.

But you don’t have to turn over the future of your relationship with your children to a disinterested stranger. You can be your own advocate! And if you do, the costs can be minimal.

One great advantage of the internet is that there are so many resources available today right at your fingertips. The leader in online legal service and forms is Legal Zoom. While Legal Zoom is best known for online forms for Wills and contracts, it also offers forms and resources in every area of law, including child custody.

Likewise, there are a number of family advocacy groups that provide resources that can be helpful to you in your own particular situation. An excellent example of this type of provider is Reform Family Law Now. In other states, there are similar groups who provide links to exactly the forms you will need.

In many states, you can find the forms you need immediately from a website associated with the family system in the state where your children reside. For example, in Indiana, you can go to the Indiana Judiciary Self Service Center to obtain forms that will guide you through the process.

As a caveat, however, you should understand that this is not a panacea for your troubles. Many judges, in fact, do not like pro se filings because they cannot trust the legal opinion of the litigants. The judge may even tell you that your paperwork is not in order and you need to have an attorney file it for you.

Along with its many other services, Elusen, with the help of licensed attorneys, provides coaching and guidance on working your way through the maze of issues a custody matter presents. And we offer these services at a fraction of the cost of hiring an attorney, or even of a typical family therapist or counselor. If we can assist you in any way, please call us today at (888) 322-8975.


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    • Deshaputra I profile image

      Deshaputra I 8 years ago from Jakarta -Indonesia

      thanks Elusen for your kind information. i've been reading through your great hubs on law matters especially on private laws and hope they'll help me on my daily assignments.