Can I file for custody without a lawyer?

I’ve spoken to many lawyers, all with the same answer “Come back with $1,000 to start your case” easier said than done, right? At least for me, anyway. Can I file for custody without a lawyer? If so, how?! This waiting game of seeing my child is killing me! Never did I think my daughter’s father would just take her and not even let me see her or get any kind of updates :sob:


Yes you can just go to your family.court and file. At least in pa you can and you dont need a lawyer. Ask for an emergency hearing too. Goodluck

Yeah, it’s easier with a lawyer though

absolutely, my son did and the wife had an attorney, he won…make sure you have your ducks all in a row…before going in front of judge…

Yes you can! But maybe try to find a lawyer willing to do pro bono cases. Depends on the state your in. Here where im from they offer the extra help when possible.

Way easier with a lawyer cause if ge has one sorry to say but ge would probably get granted custody it all just depends on state and living arrangements

Yes. It’s really not that hard. Just ask at the court house for the email address and print off the proper paperwork. Keep records of all dates and times. Record everything in a notebook and be honest.

according to the court some forms needed to establish custody do not exist for a civilian to file. A lawyer had to draw them up and file them

You can do anything without a laywer. Just gotta file the paperwork.

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In sc you can just make sure you have all your paperwork right go to

You should be able to. Contact your county clerk for info, but remember there will still be filing fees. If the other party has a lawyer they can send you in the hole. Having a lawyer is expensive, but depending the case, it can save you a lot of money. You may also want to consider looking into your local legal aid to see if you qualify

They have lawyers for people that don’t have the cash :dollar:. You just have to find one. :pray::pray::pray:prayers for you.:pray::pray:

Go to the courthouse but theres still a filing charge

Yes you can just go to court and have the petition filed. If you want someone to represent you, go to legal aide. They will not charge you if you qualify.

This may seem like a silly suggestion to some, but have you tried legal aid? Some states offer help with that and some dont

A pro bono lawyer you can Google pro bono lawyer in your city, town. Community.

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Where do you live? Some states require parents to be married before they have rights to their children, paternity established or not.

Try legal aide they don’t charge but u must meet the guidelines

Why does her father have her?

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Try to find a legal aid. They usually help you, or at least point you in the right direction. And usually for free.

Took her without your consent and won’t let you see her?!.. I’d report that child kidnapped by her father!

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Absolutely! Anyone can file for anything without a lawyer.

Are these questions even real? And these awful, incorrect responses :woman_facepalming::cold_sweat: Yikes.


Yes you can. You actually don’t need a lawyer to file for anything, you just need to research and find the correct forms.

You should be able to find the forms you need here.

It’s so hard. I was told $1500 for my lawyer…

Legally that withholding ur child. If there is no custody agreement then u can call the police. At least in California that’s how they have it.

Been trying for two years to see my son. I’m in the same position… and I already had custody. Good luck. They don’t listen or take u seriously without a lawyer, but yes, you can file anything you want through the clerk of court. Make sure you dot every i and cross every t. Some counties have low bono services that may help you with the paperwork. May want to choose that option because if you do ANY MINUSCULE THING WRONG his attorney will be on it and have the whole thing dismissed. I’m sorry for what you’re going through. It’s a horrible nightmare I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

If her father just took her without permission from you or the court, that is Parental kidnapping

In Pennsylvania you can but if your short on funds maybe try your legal aid department they can assist with these things usually. In Pennsylvania if the two parents do not have a court order any parent can come and take the child whenever they want and don’t have to bring the child back. When my husbands dna donor(I say this because she is not a mother) took the kids we had to go file for emergency custody and prove to them they lived with us and such before the court would set a order that she had ten days to return them and we had to go set a date to make a custody agreement,(I said dna donor before because after this stunt she has not been heard from since) but she didn’t show up. Now we’re trying to file for abdonment so I can adopt them, it’s been super expensive I haven’t found anyone willing to do it for less than $3000. Anyways try legal aid maybe they can help. Sorry for the long post

Contact Legal Aid in your community.

hate to tell you all but the father has just as much right to the baby as the mother she has to go down and get guardianship for the baby just like she could get the baby and take it from him until guardianship is rewarded the baby is either or

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You can literally just go to the court house pay $50 for the papers fill them out and return them and pay the $30 filing fee

Dont u have a family court? Go there and file.

In VA it cost $25 to file papers, you go to the court house and ask for the papers then file, no need for a lawyer. There is also free legal aid inmost states where you can speak to a lawyer and they will give you their best advice but usually won’t be with you in court unless the other parent has a lawyer. You can qualify to wave fees if you are on Medicaid, food stamps, or any other government assistance. Best bet is to search online or go to family court and see if you can speak to someone there.

So sorry your going through this!!! Mama nothing can you make you feel better . But you have to pay filing fees because he needs to get it certified in the mail they make a million copies. What you can do is call and get a “free” consultation. And see how much info you can get. It sounds like he’s gonna put up a fight so your better off with a lawyer, even public attorney, but depends how much custody you wants to give as well. If you both can agree on something it won’t necessarily be as rough. In PA they have free lawyers based on your income. I’m sorry your going through this. Your in my prayers. You got this mama bear :heart:

Each state is different . You would need to start by going to ask at your family court . Usually they have help to fill out the packet to get custody/divorce started .

File the motions yourself! Contact your local family court ask clerk how you can obtain the paper work needed, most of the time it’s free and you can fill out yourself!

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Yes. If you aren’t married just petition the courts, if you are married just make sure you have the case #. It’s pretty easy.

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Call your courthouse and ask them what steps need to be taken


You need to file an emergency custody order. Contact casaa and they can help you.

That is why as the mother you dont let child go with dad until everything is worked out in court. If you allowed him to take her at first but he just didnt bring her back there is nothing that can be done until you go to court.


You can do a divorce online for around 200, in MS,

Unless there is a court order he can’t keep you from seeing your child nor take her. Depending on state check with family court there are normally a propono clinic that will help you file your case.


Call the clerk’s office at the courthouse and ask. They will likely have a multi-page form to complete and then you’ll get a court date

Wow where’d you find one for $1000. Lowest retainer I was able to find was $3500.
You can utilize the courts document library. They have forms you can fill out and file yourself.
YouTube is also very helpful when figuring out the process.

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Yes you can go to court house

You have to establish custody first go to court and ask you got to go ask for an emergency hearing but you have to move fast and before he does I’ve heard about some cases dads got the child like this and ended up keeping them it’s really sad

Pretty crazy when we have all the information we need at our fingertips (Google) and you come to a Facebook group to ask :woman_facepalming:t3: start by typing in your state and the question you have.


You could where I live. Check.out your local custody office

You should be able to just go to the courthouse and file for custody.

Yes you can but there’s steps first. They try to get both parents to sit down first and see if they can come to a private agreement first if not it can take a couple years to get custody or access to child…

Call the police, he can’t hold your child from you.

You do not need a lawyer! Go to the family law area in your local courthouse. They will give you the packet to fill out and answer any questions you may have.

I’m sorry some of you dad haters on here are terrible. The police cant do Nything just an FYI. The kid is just as much his as hers.


Here in CA we have self help departments in our courthouses. You can go wait in a very long line and get assistance filing out forms and file yourself. Completely free to do but every time I’ve gone I’ve been there around 2-3 hours.

Call your local women’s shelter or see if there is a legal aid where you live but the women’s shelter will be able to help with advice and guide you to lawyers who can help you

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If y’all aint been to court over it yet go to the courts and file for emergency custody of her. Have a well fare check down and the cops will return her to you (depending on the state)

If he gets a lawyer you are going to be run over by the system…

Go to your county court house, and ask them how to file, I’m sure they’ll help you, Or get you a Public defender, Good Luck,My Heart Breaks for you…

Yes it is called in pro have to file a motion to change have to be very therel with why you wishes to change it. If you have state assistance you can get the motion charge waved

If you call your Family Court they’ll tell you (or should tell you) how to file directly with them. My kids are grown so I don’t know if a lot has changed but I never needed to have an attorney. I handled it myself. If the other party involved doesn’t agree to what you are asking for then you might need one.

Most states, yes you can file for custody, visitation etc. Without a lawyer

Why did you lose custody of your child to begin with ? They usually don’t give custody to the father without good reason

Different states go by different policies. Start at your local courthouse and ask the court clerk where a good starting point would be. Let them know your situation.

Also anything about the child’s well being should be stated.

Following my husband is in same boat with his son from another relationship

Yes you can, go to the court ask to file a petition. You may also apply for a court appointed lawyer have to meet income guidelines.

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It is possible, I have a cousin that did all of her own paperwork for a divorce and custody! You have to be willing to put the research and time in. If you have access to a law library go wander around and involve the librarian, bet you could get started!

Yes…go to family court file there then you’ll have to file at the prothonotary office and you will get a court date. It’s about 80$ to file at the prothonotary office in PA

Yes,go library type and print ,go see a court office,pay court file fee,collect all information you need,

I got more done in 3 months going pro se than any of my lawyers got done in 5 years. I am finally happy about my last outcome without an attorney