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A petition requesting the Court to grant custody of child(ren) must be filed with the Court. If both parents agree and sign an agreement (stipulation and consent agreement), that agreement, if approved by the Court, may be entered as a custody order.
A petition to modify a custody order must be filed with the Court, or the parents can sign a written agreement changing custody (stipulation and consent agreement), which if approved by the Court, will change custody.
It is not required that you have an attorney to file a petition for custody. However, there are many complicated issues involved in a custody case and therefore attorney representation may be desired. The Friend of the Court cannot file a petition for custody in a party's behalf.
The Friend of the Court is required to provide Domestic Relations Mediation. Mediation is a process where a neutral third party assists in voluntarily settling a custody dispute. Both parties must agree to participate in this process.
Yes, a number of custody arrangements are possible. The most common are:
The Friend of the Court is required to:
Before the Court custody recommendation, the Friend of the Court must provide to each party or their attorney a copy of the report, recommendation and any supporting documents or a summary of the documents prepared or used by the Friend of the Court.
Allegations of abuse or neglect should be reported to the Protective Services unit of the Department of Social Services office.
The Friend of the Court has a responsibility to conduct an investigation when a party files a parenting time or custody petition and the matter is referred to the Friend of the Court. Allegations of abuse or neglect should be communicated to the Friend of the Court during the investigation/evaluation process.