What are the steps for filing for custody?
Generally, if the parents are married and are going through a divorce, one or both of the parents usually files for custody as part of a divorce action.
If the parents are already divorced, a petition for a change in custody can be filed in the county where the divorce was issued.
If the parents were never married, either parent can file for custody in the county in which the child has been living for at least six months.
In all cases, you will have to:
- draft or have someone draft a petition letting the court and the other party know what type of custody you are seeking and why;
- file your paperwork with the court and have the other parent served; and
- pay a filing fee or request a fee waiver if you are low-income and cannot pay the fee.
Once you file your paperwork, you may have a hearing in front of a judge and will likely come back for multiple court dates. To find out more about how the process works in your area, please contact a lawyer. Please visit our AL Finding a Lawyer page to find legal help in your area.