Worried about representing yourself on your child custody case? Are worried about the expense of hiring a lawyer or for other reasons? Then maybe you should think about filing for child custody without an attorney. That way you can get your day in court and make your custody casework for you.
introduction into the legal system for divorcing parents
First, let’s discuss why you may want to represent yourself in a custody case. Often, parents who are divorcing decide they don’t want to hire an attorney so they do not have to pay attorney fees. Yet, child custody cases are not always the easiest first introduction into the legal system for divorcing parents. In fact, many parents find out that they are not the right person to be the legal advocate for themselves or their minor children because they didn’t hire an attorney.
Here’s why you might want to file for custody without an attorney
A child custody agreement between you and your ex-spouse is probably not worth fighting over. Sure, it may seem unfair that you are the parent with visitation rights but without an attorney, you won’t be able to fight this as aggressively as you could if you had an attorney. This is a critical factor because some judges are just rubber-stamping whatever social media page (websites, etc.) the parents agree on and then use these in the custody proceedings. Therefore, without an attorney, you’ll have little power over what you post on social media sites and the like.
However, you don’t need an attorney for this. There is another option: mediation. Mediation is where the parents sit down with someone other than themselves to talk about their issues and then make a custody and visitation order with the parents. If the parents are not amicable and the mediator can’t work with both parents, the mediator might just choose one parent. This means that the parent with the worst track record or the one that is most difficult to work with may win the case. Of course, it is up to the court to choose which parent would be best for the child and in the best interests of the child.
update your social security and remortgage to change your last name.
The final option and this is the best way to “get away with it” if you’ve done it before, is to file for a name change. If you’ve moved recently (and some cities require this) then you might have to update your social security and remortgage to change your last name. Some cities do not require a new last name because they want to maintain consistent names between properties. This means that if you’ve moved and changed your last name and your child support payments changed too, you’ll have to file for child support with the new name.
If your child lives with you, or you’ve gotten physical custody, then the only way to go about changing your name is to file for a name change. Most cities have a procedure for changing the last name and will process the paperwork quickly and easily. However, if your child lives with the other parent, then the process can be very complicated. Child custody laws vary from city to city, and there’s no sure way to find out the procedure in your area. Be sure to check with your child’s school or the local courthouse to find out what they require.