How Do You Write a Petition for Custody?

A petition for custody must be formatted according to the requirements of the state in which the petition is being made, according to LegalZoom. Due to the Uniform Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Act, petitions for custody are filed in the child’s county or city of residence, regardless of where the petitioner lives.

The local court clerk can provide a template with acceptable information. The custody petition should provide information about the child, including the name, date of birth and address, notes LegalZoom. It must include the parents' names and addresses, as well as the petitioner’s information and his relationship to the child. It is also necessary to outline the custody arrangement being requested, such as joint or sole custody. If the petitioner is seeking sole custody, he should explain why other parents or guardians are unfit.

After filing the petition for custody in the child’s jurisdiction, the next step is to serve it to the child’s current custodian, explains LegalZoom. Each state has different procedures for how to serve a petition. The court must receive proof of the service. It then assigns a hearing date. At the time of the hearing, the petitioner and the child’s current custodian have the opportunity to argue their cases before a judge.