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Custody Forms

Separating parents involved in child custody cases must consult a wide variety of resources. They will file many documents with the family court. In this article, you'll learn about child custody law. As a parent, it's important to know your parental rights. At the end of this article, you'll find links to official forms. You'll also find government resources for all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Continue reading for a breakdown of issues related to child custody.

Types of Custody

When parents split up, there is always the question of what decision-making powers either parent will have when it comes to their children. Parents may split up by various means, including legal separation and divorce. From time to time, one parent might even file for a restraining order against another parent in cases of domestic violence.

Custody is divided between legal custody, physical custody, joint custody, and sole custody. Generally, "joint custody" refers to the sharing of decision-making authorities over a child. "Sole custody" refers to the exclusive assignment of decision-making powers or time with a child to one parent. However, it's extremely rare for a family or probate court to remove a parent entirely from a child's life.

Legal custody refers to the right to make the major decisions in a child's life. These decisions include health care, education, and religious upbringing. Physical custody refers to parenting time and visitation. "Parenting time" and "visitation" tend to refer to the time a parent spends with their child in person. A visitation order lays out the terms of how, when, and where a parent may spend time with their child in person.

Child custody and visitation issues can be very complicated, and FindLaw's resources on these subjects can help a great deal.

Child Support

Child support is an important part of any custody arrangement. Getting or maintaining child support can be a confusing and stressful process. For example, let's say a parent doesn't follow through with their child support order. They are not contributing to the child's welfare, as obligated by the court order. The other parent is then responsible for going through the right legal channels to get the other parent to comply.

Whatever the case, custody forms will also address the terms of child support with which you and your child's other parent must comply. There are a variety of court forms associated specifically with issues of child support. However, custody forms will still contain the stipulation of child support.

Custody Forms

As mentioned above, custody forms are used to establish the type of custody. They also establish the custody terms that you and your minor child's other parent will have over your shared child. Many states have self-help centers and forms available.

Consider reviewing the following resources to locate various child custody forms:

You can also review state child custody laws, where you'll find links to the laws of every state and the District of Columbia. Some states include links to sample parenting plans or have a standard custody order with which they begin. Many have resources like a law library or information sheet available for interested parents.

However, keep in mind that custody issues can be very complicated. While these resources and links to forms may be helpful, it's always advised that you seek the assistance of an attorney.

Need More Help? Contact an Attorney Today

It can be a confusing and stressful process to handle any custody-related issue. Consider contacting a qualified family law attorney near you today. They can assist you with any issues related to custody forms and custody in general. Attorneys can even help with protective orders, temporary orders, or spousal support.

Attorneys can help you complete any family law forms required by the court system. Some court systems allow e-filing. There may be filing fees required, or there may be fee waivers available. An attorney's legal advice and legal aid will be very helpful in handling any child custody matter. A good litigant can even represent you in family court if needed.

Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer's contact information near you.

You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help

Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.

Or contact an attorney near you:

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Can I Solve This on My Own or Do I Need an Attorney?

  • Custody & child visitation cases are emotional, and a lawyer can seek the best outcome
  • A lawyer can help protect your children's interests
  • Lawyers can seek to secure visitation rights

Get tailored advice and ask a lawyer questions. Many attorneys offer free consultations.


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