How to File for Custody in North Carolina as a Single Parent

Child custody issues can be settled amicably between the parties involved or taken to court to establish strict calendars and guidelines. Even if the opposing sides are far apart, North Carolina judges generally will ask the opposing sides to meet in mediation at least one final time to act in the best interests of the child before taking arguments and issuing a custody order. People can represent themselves in custody cases, but obtaining an attorney's opinion can be helpful to protect your interests.


    • 1

      Seek legal advice from your personal attorney or a specialist in child custody issues if you are uncomfortable with representing yourself or unsure how to proceed. A lawyer can guide you through the process, represent your interests in court and make sure all documents are filed on time. The bar association in your county may offer pro se services to help you get on the right path at either no expense or reduced cost.

    • 2

      Contact the court clerk's office in the county where you reside. Request the proper forms for filing your request and serving the other parties. Fill out these forms completely and include your specific requests.

    • 3

      Submit the documents and any supporting information in person at the clerk's office in the courthouse. Make sure to include specific contact information for the opposing side, so a summons can be served. You will need to pay court fees before a judge will consider any request.

    • 4

      Wait for notice from the court about mediation dates and times. To increase your chances of a successful conclusion to the custody case, you must abide by all court calendars and participate as requested by the judge.

    • 5

      Attend the scheduled court hearing to discuss the outcome of mediation. State your case and answer the judge succinctly when asked. Factual knowledge and well-supported reasons for your request will give the judge the best information possible if he needs to issue an opinion. Supply written documentation to the court when possible.

    • 6

      Abide by the judge's order regarding times, dates and provisions of custody. Any violation of the order may cause the other party to file a modification of custody terms and affect the time you may spend with your child.

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