Can I get custody of my 10 year old daughter without a lawyer? 12 Answers as of April 27, 2011

My 10 year old daughter begs me every day if she can come live with me and I want her to really bad but I cant afford a lawyer. Is there anything I can do?

Ask a Local Attorney. 100% Anonymous. Free Answers.

Free Case Evaluation by a Local Lawyer: Click here
Michael Anthony Wing, P.C.
Michael Anthony Wing, P.C. | Michael Anthony Wing
Whew. I would not attempt that without a lawyer. You could petition the court for appointed counsel for at least your daughter. That's really a reach, but it could happen or something similar. Stay well.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 4/26/2011
William C. Gosnell, Attorney at Law
William C. Gosnell, Attorney at Law | William C. Gosnell
No, you need a lawyer. If your ex gets a lawyer you will lose.
Answer Applies to: Tennessee
Replied: 4/27/2011
Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
You didn't indicate in your question whether or not there is and/or was a divorce case or a paternity case filed, or whether or not there were any orders granting custody to the father. You should at least consult with an experienced Family Law Attorney about the particulars of your situation, as well as the father's employment and/or income, so that the possibility of an order requiring the father to contribute to your attorney's fees can be investigated, as well as the possibilities for you to obtain custody of your daughter. Also, you can contact the court in which the prior action was filed (if there was any prior action), or you can contact the Superior Court in the county in which the child resides (if there was no prior action) to determine when you can visit the Court's self-help clinic to seek free assistance, to prepare an appropriate lawsuit (if none had previously been filed)and/or an Order to Show Cause for child custody and/or modification of child custody.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/26/2011
Harris Law Firm
Harris Law Firm | Jennifer C. Robins
In Oregon, you can file a pro se (without an attorney) modification of child custody. Where an attorney can really help you is in making sure you have just cause to do so. Just because a child wants to live with one parent versus another, doesn't mean that is what the court will order. If the other parent presents a safety risk to the child, there may be an emergency custody order available. Even if you cannot afford counsel, I would attempt to obtain one. Many states have low cost or modest means attorneys, who work at a reduced rate or on a sliding scale. Attempting to gain child custody can be tricky when you go it alone. Contact your state bar association for information regarding low cost representation.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 4/26/2011
Beaulier Law Office
Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
No person is required to have a lawyer. However, custody cases are never simple. Going to court without a lawyer is often like visiting a foreign country where you do not speak the language. Understanding the procedure, communicating your issues and introducing your evidence is a critical part of any custody case.
Answer Applies to: Minnesota
Replied: 4/26/2011
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
    That question can't really be answered without knowing a lot more about the situation. Perhaps more than a lawyer you will need a parenting professional (usually a mental health professional with experience in child custody cases) to evaluate your daughters situation and to confirm why she is so eager to live with you.

    You don't say how much regular contact you have with your daughter so it isn't clear whether a change of residence is the only or best solution. A Parenting Professional can help figure out if the solution must might be more time with you. You can file a motion, without a lawyer, with the court to request that a CFI (Child and Family Investigator) be appointed to investigate and make recommendations to the Court. Generally, however, if you can't find a way to hire a lawyer you may not have the funds to pay a CFI. However, a CFI's fees can be divided between the parents.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 4/26/2011
    The Davies Law Firm, P.A.
    The Davies Law Firm, P.A. | Robert F. Davies, Esq.
    It is possible for you to ask for custody of your daughter without the help of an attorney. A lawyer is an expert, and will help you to put your case in front of the judge clearly and convincingly. Let me know if you decide to use an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 4/26/2011
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
    There is no obligation to hire a lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 4/26/2011
    Law Office of Michael E. Hendrickson
    Law Office of Michael E. Hendrickson | Michael E. Hendrickson
    Contact one of the low cost legal services providers in your area to determine whether you might qualify for one of their attorneys to assist you.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 4/25/2011
    Edward A. Kroll, Attorney at Law
    Edward A. Kroll, Attorney at Law | Edward A. Kroll
    You can try to file for custody on your own, but without a lawyer, it is HIGHLY unlikely that you would be successful. You should see if there is a legal aid clinic that can help you, or perhaps your state Bar has a low-cost lawyer service. But trying to do it yourself is a losing proposition.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 4/25/2011
    Glenn E. Tanner
    Glenn E. Tanner | Glenn E. Tanner
    If there has been a substantial change of circumstances you can file for a modification of your existing parenting plan.

    In general, I would not put much weight in what a 10 year old says about who she/he wants to live with. Probably, the 10 year old wants to be loved and may think telling you this,will help assure this occurs. If this was your sole reason for wanting to change the parenting plan I would ask why you are letting a 10 year old run your life and can you assure the child she is loved without changing her life? If there are reasons a change is in your child's best interests, go for it. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 4/25/2011
Click to View More Answers: