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How can I file for a modification of Custody in the state of PA without a lawyer? What documents do I need?

York, PA |

I live in the state of PA. I currently have a custody agreement with my soon to be ex however after a year of this agreement I have had enough and want more time with them. I moved into the same school district and would like them 50/50. Is this possible? I work 4 - 10hr days off Fri - Sunday. If need be my son could go to daycare after school till I get off work at 530pm. My daughter is in high school and can go right home after school. I have a 3 bedroom apartment and could provide more stability for them if I had more time with them. My ex refuses to give me more time when I ask for it. I get them every other weekend plus and extra 2 1/2 hrs a week. I love my kids how do I go about getting a modification what papers do I need?

I can't afford a lawyer. I pay child support (which i understand i want nothing more then my kids to be taken care of ) however, she makes more then me plus i have to give her over $1050 a mnth with leave me after child support and taxes if I'm lucky $900 mth (not enough to cover my rent) so unfortunetly I dont want to do this fight alone, but I can't afford a lawyer bringing home only $900 or less a month. I have no problem with 50/50 I think it will be more beneficial to both my kids especially my daughter seeing how she missed over the allowed amount of days at school just because she didn't want to go. I feel they both need more time with me so that I can be a part of their lives and not just every other weekend. I miss out on holidays iwth them because their mom will not allow me to have them on the holidays. I dont how to fight for them without a lawyer, but I cant seem to find one willing to work with my budget. Anyone know where I can find a lawyer who can help considering my income?

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Attorney answers 2


Many PA family court judges have changed the old sterotypes and adopted shared custody when the facts and circumstances indicate such an award is best for the minor children. First, this is not something that you should try to do on your own - hire an experienced child custody lawyer who has trial experience in shared custody cases. Second, you may wish to pursue a court-appointed psychological evaluation of both parents and the children. All of the child psychologists that I have worked with have testified that shared custody is best for the children if both parents are fit, have a reasonable degree of cooperation and live within close proximity, amongst other factors. Don't be penny wise and pound foolish in this case. Your child deserves a healthy relationship with both parents and going to court without a lawyer is not advisable. Check out my website for additional hints.


Lancaster County has a website with a lot of self help items on it. The only problem that Lancaster County is pre-printed on most of the self-help forms so you will need to change the forms yourself to reflect the county in which you are filing the case instead of Lancaster. The link is below. Even if you file yourself, it is always wise to retain an attorney before you attend any court appearance so that the attorney on the other side does not take advantage of your lack of knowledge regarding the law and procedural issues that could detrimentally affect you chance of obtaining what you are seeking. If you are extremely low on funds but still do not qualify for a Legal Services attorney, you could attend the initial conciliation conference on your own, but if the case goes to trial you will probably be severely disadvantaged if you do not have an attorney.

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