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
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
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.
on the image at the right to view the video.
Legal Aid of North Carolina has also created an easy-to-use online
interview for preparing the court documents.
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.
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
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
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