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Important: Even if courts are closed, you can still file for a protection order and other emergency relief. See our FAQ on Courts and COVID-19.

Legal Information: Puerto Rico


December 13, 2019

Do I need a lawyer to get custody, patria potestad (legal custody) or visitation?

You do not need a lawyer to file for custody, patria potestad (legal custody) or visitation.  However, with the help of a lawyer, it may be easier for you to gather and present the information you will need to convince the judge of your position on what the custody or visitation schedule should be.  Also, if the other parent has a lawyer, it will be more difficult for you to present your case.  For free legal assistance and legal referrals go to our PR Finding a Lawyer page.

Note: Although Puerto Rico law does allow for self-representation (pro se litigation),1 the judge can decide that a person is unfit to represent himself/herself and order that s/he get a lawyer.  In this link, you can find programs that help pro se litigants: Rama Judicial de Puerto Rico.

1 La Rama Judicial de Puerto Rico - Self-representation orientation

If you are going to be in court without a lawyer, our Preparing for Court – By Yourself section may be useful to you.