How Do I Get a Formal Court Order Granting Me Custody or Visitation Rights?

If you are seeking custody or visitation rights, you need to obtain a formal court order.  The method of obtaining such a court order will depend on your relationship to the child and his or her other parent(s).  

  • If you are married to the child's other parent, you need to file for divorce or legal separation.  Custody and visitation will be included in part of these processes.
  • If you are not married to the child's other parent, you need to file a parentage action.  This may require a paternity test to verify that you are the child's biological parent.
  • If you are not the child's biological parent, you can file to start a guardianship case with the probate court. 
  • If you are not the child's biological parent and there is a Family Court file for the child, you can attempt to join the action.

Do I Need a Lawyer to Help Me Obtain a Court Order For Custody or Visitation Rights?

A family law attorney will be familiar with how to obtain court orders for custody and visitation rights in your state.  Your attorney will be able to advise you on what actions to take and will be experienced on filing the necessary forms.  Additionally, your attorney will be able to protect your relationship with your child.