By Karen Best Wright, www.raisingyourgrandchildren.com
I have had people ask me about how to get custody of grandchildren without hiring an attorney. This does work for some people, but it is much harder. It is not a simple matter.
If you can not afford an attorney and are obtaining the forms and filing them yourself, do your homework and know what you are doing. Legal custody is awarded by the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court and is not merely a written agreement between two parties. Check with is court about obtaining the necessary form.
Keep in mind if you are asking someone else to help you fill out the form correctly, not just anyone can help you fill out a request for custody form. They could be accused of practicing law without a license. So make sure if you have assistance with filling out the form, the person has the legal authority to help you. You might try and contact any type of grandparents raising grandchildren support group or program in your entire state to see if anyone has any suggestions for you. Some states do have programs to help grandparents with the forms. Contact your local legal aid office or local law school to see if they have a program to help. Do not simply ask a law student to help. The person must either be certified to help with these forms or be an attorney. Make a lot of phone calls and ask a lot of questions if you must do this yourself without your own personal attorney.
If you go to court with the forms not correctly filled in, you will be told to do it over and reset your court date. Even if you are able to get someone from a legal aid office or a special workshop provided by a legal aid office or law school, all you are getting is assistance with the form, not representation in court.
A grandmother who loves their grandchildren