What Child Custody forms do I need and is a Lawyer necessary?

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Question:

Do I need a lawyer to help me fill out Child Custody forms? What custody forms should I be aware of and what type of information do they need?

 

Answer:

You should be able to download all of your state’s child custody forms from your county family court’s website, or you can pick up the forms from the courthouse.  In addition,  most state bar associations and county family courts have on-line and written publications outlining their jurisdiction’s custody processes and forms.  There are also numerous websites and publishers who will sell you child custody form packages for your state.

But, in all of these instances – on every website and in every publication – you will find a disclaimer such as this: “It is highly recommended that you have a licensed attorney review any legal documents for which you are searching in order to make sure that your needs are being properly and completely satisfied.”  I agree.  Although you may be able to fill in the blanks on all of the required custody paperwork, an experienced member of your local family court bar will be familiar with the custody determination guidelines used in your jurisdiction – the statutory guidelines mandated by law, as well as your family court judge’s discretionary preferences vis a vis child custody determinations.

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