How to Write a Request for Sole Custody
- 1). Learn your state's law. Some states have a presumption in favor of joint custody. This means a judge will automatically assume that joint custody is going to be in the best interest of the child and you have to show the judge why this is not true. One common argument for sole legal custody is that the parents do not get along and will not be able to successfully make decisions together if given joint legal custody.
- 2). Get the right paperwork. If there is a custody order already in place, you will need custody modification forms. If you are filing for the first time, you will need the custody complaint. If you are responding to the other parent's request for custody, along with the answer, you will need to file a "counter complaint" for child custody. Also, many courts have made the forms available on the Internet in a format that allows you to type in your answers.
- 3). Read the entire form and all the directions before completing the forms. The forms may ask information regarding the current and past living arrangements for the children, your current and past addresses, your financial information, why you are interested in sole custody and what visitation arrangement you are comfortable with. If you are planning on completing the form while at the court building, bring all the relevant addresses, dates and financial information with you.
- 4). Ask if there is a self-help center you can go to or a free legal clinic. At the information desk at the court, ask if there is anyone in the court building that can help you complete the forms. Many courts have self-help centers to help people who are filing family court documents without an attorney. The staff at the self-help center can help you complete the forms with an eye towards helping you explain why sole custody is in the best interest of the child.
- 5). File the paperwork in court. It is your responsibility to send a copy of everything if you filed to the other parent - this is called "service." Be sure to follow all your state requirements for service.