Washington County Court of Common Pleas


Pro Se Custody Resource Guide

NOTICE

ALL PARTIES INVOLVED IN LITIGATION ARE STRONGLY ENCOURAGED TO SEEK PROFESSIONAL LEGAL ADVICE FROM AN ATTORNEY. Court staff cannot offer any legal advice. The information in this packet is not a substitute for professional legal advice. The Court assumes no responsibility and accepts no liability for actions taken by users of these documents, including reliance on their contents.

If you desire to speak with an attorney and do not know one, you should call the Bar Association’s Lawyer Referral Service (LRS) at (724) 225-6710 to schedule a half-hour consultation with a licensed, insured attorney who has experience in the area of law related to your legal matter. The initial half-hour consultation with the attorney is $30; any fees beyond the first half-hour should be discussed and agreed upon by you and the lawyer.

If you meet certain income and other qualifications, you may be able to secure an attorney through Southwestern PA Legal Services, at (724) 225-6170.

If you have questions about domestic violence or believe that you may be the victim of domestic violence, we strongly recommend that you contact the Washington County Women’s Shelter at (724) 223-8349.

If you suspect child abuse, please contact CHILDLINE at (800) 932-0313. You can report suspected child abuse 24 hours per day and remain anonymous.

Filing for Custody? Which packet do you need?

Please review the table below to determine which packet you need, then click on the document icon to download the document(s).

Name Intent Description Download
A How to file for Custody Directions Basic information. PDF icon PDF
B Custody FAQs Questions & Answers Frequently Asked Questions and the Judge’s Standard Answer. PDF icon PDF
C Service Notice on Service How to notify the other party. PDF icon PDF Doc icon DOC
D Conference Room / Courtroom Conduct In the Courtroom Things to know before you come to Court, including the dress code. PDF icon PDF
E Definitions Legal terms Basic definitions of common legal terms. PDF icon PDF
F Legal Resources Library Hours and Web-sites How to research information to prepare for your case. PDF icon PDF

Forms

Name Intent Description Download
1 Complaint To file for custody This is the first form to file to initiate a custody action. Filing Fee is paid when you file. PDF icon PDF Doc icon DOC
2 Agreement Parties have an agreement This form is filed with the complaint if the parties have an agreement for custody and do not need a custody conference. PDF icon PDF Doc icon DOC
3 Modification To Change an existing custody order PDF icon PDF Doc icon DOC
4 Contempt To compel other party to follow custody order. Must give the other party at least five (5) business days notice before going to Motions Court. PDF icon PDF Doc icon DOC
5 TransParenting Program This is a prerequisite to court involvement. Each party to the custody action must attend and complete a 4 hour transparenting seminar prior to the one hour meeting. Contact Catholic Charities or Try-Again Homes to get class information as soon as you file or receive your custody complaint or modification petition. PDF icon PDF
6 Special Relief Any situation not covered by any other forms If there is no existing Court Order, you must file a complaint at the same time. Must give the other party at least five (5) business days before going to Motions Court. PDF icon PDF Doc icon DOC
7 Trial De Novo To appeal the decision from the Conference Officer Be aware that this is "going to trial" and you really should hire an attorney. PDF icon PDF Doc icon DOC
8 Withdraw To stop a custody action This cancels the custody action. If you change your mind later, you will need to start the process from the beginning. PDF icon PDF Doc icon DOC
9 Continuance To postpone a hearing The amount of the fee depends on when you request the continuance. PDF icon PDF Doc icon DOC
10 Relocation For the parent who has shared or primary custody and wants to move out of Washington County Petition and notice are required PRIOR to relocating from Washington County. PDF icon PDF Doc icon DOC
11 Parent Plan Provides information to the Court. Describes the parties' intentions for a custody schedule and provides required criminal background information. PDF icon PDF Doc icon DOC
12 Criminal Background Check Provides information to the Court. Must be completed for all adults residing in the household. PDF icon PDF
13 Affidavit of Service Proof that you gave notice to the other party Must be filed for the case to be resolved. PDF icon PDF Doc icon DOC
14 Acceptance of Service Proof the other party received documents. Must be filed for the case to be resolved. PDF icon PDF Doc icon DOC