How can I get child custody without hiring an attorney?

UPDATED: Jan 3, 2013

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How can I get child custody without hiring an attorney?

Asked on January 3, 2013 under Family Law, Texas


B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If there is not currently a suit in place, you would need to file what is called a "Suit affecting parent-child relationship."  If you are married to the other parent, this suit is usually combined with a divorce. 

Whether an original suit or a divorce-- the process begins with the filing of a petition.  After the petition is filed, you will need to have the other side served with a copy of the petition.  If you request service in your petition, the clerk will usually forward it to the Sheriff to serve for you.  After the other parent is served, you can request a final hearing.  You will need to plan a date for this hearing through the court coordinator and send notice to the other parent.  At the hearing, you will be required to present evidence and testimony on what you should be named the managing conservator of the child.

If there are already orders in place, you would follow a similar procedure... but instead of filing an original petition, you would file a motion to modify instead.

To file the petition, you are not required to have an attorney.  Many people are able to find forms online to use.  I would suggest, however, that even if you don't hire someone to complete the suit, you may want to pay an attorney to at least look over your forms to make sure that you haven't missed something that would be important to your case.  Paying for a consultation is cheaper than full representation. 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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