self-help resources from legal aid of north carolina

The resources made available through this web page are provided as a public service by Legal Aid of North Carolina. They are intended for use by low- and moderate-income people who cannot afford to hire a private attorney. We hope that you will find them useful but make no guarantee that they will produce the results you want.

custody: filing for custody or visitation without a lawyer

Before you file a court action for custody, you need to learn about court procedures and about North Carolina custody laws.  This information will help you avoid mistakes that could hurt your case or even have it thrown out of court.

Legal Aid of North Carolina has prepared a 30-minute video that explains what you need to know about court procedures and custody laws. 

Legal Aid of North Carolina offices offer regular custody clinics where the video is shown and an attorney is available to answer general questions.   To find out whether there is a custody clinic near you, call your nearest Legal Aid of North Carolina office.

If you have a high-speed internet connection, you can watch the video on your computer by clicking on the video link below.  If you have questions after watching the video on your own, you should attend a custody clinic to ask your questions of an attorney. 

     Click on the image at the right to view the video.     Image of opening of LANC Custody Video

Legal Aid of North Carolina has also created an easy-to-use online interview for preparing the court documents.   Read more...

When you attend one of the custody clinics described above, you will be given a packet of materials with the necessary court forms and instructions.  You may also download the packet.  Read more...

before you proceed on your own:

In some situations, you should get advice from a lawyer before deciding to file a custody case on your own without a lawyer.  Read more... 

Attend a clinic if you can.  An attorney will be available to answer general questions about filing for custody or visitation.

If you are unable to attend a Legal Aid of North Carolina custody clinic, or if you would like to review what you learned at the clinic, be sure to read about court procedures and North Carolina laws on custody before filing for custody on your own. 

You will also find some helpful tips for improving your chances of a successful outcome.

if you need special help:

If you are low-income and need help completing the forms due to disability or other limitation, and if you do not have a trusted family member or friend who can help you, you may contact Legal Aid of North Carolina's HelpLine  at 1-866-219-5262 for help in preparing the forms.  Assistance is limited to advice on preparation of the forms.  Legal Aid of North Carolina will not be able to represent you in court.

help us improve these materials

Legal Aid of North Carolina wants to make these materials as useful as possible.  Please tell us about your experience in using these materials to file for custody without a lawyer.  You may call 1-855-210-4399, toll-free, and leave your name and number.  We will call you back to get your comments on these materials.  Or you can fill out a short, anonymous online survey.  You may fill out the survey more than once -- after you complete the forms, after you file them in court, after you go to mediation, or whenever it's convenient for you.  We'd like to hear from you!  Click here to go to the survey site.

This is a secure site. Your information will not be shared with anyone outside of Legal Aid of North Carolina unless you give us permission.