Pro Se Custody Resource Guide
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.
Bar Association's Lawyer Referral Service
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 $50; 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 Pennsylvania 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 Domestic Violence Services 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 Packets
|Conference Room / Courtroom Conduct (PDF)||In the Courtroom||Things to know before you come to Court, including the dress code.|
|Custody FAQs (PDF)||Questions and Answers||Frequently Asked Questions and the Judge’s Standard Answer.|
|Definitions (PDF)||Legal terms||Basic definitions of common legal terms.|
|How to file for Custody (PDF)||Directions||Basic information.|
|Legal Resources (PDF)||Library Hours and Web-sites||How to research information to prepare for your case.|
|Service (PDF)||Notice on Service||How to notify the other party.|
|Acceptance of Service (PDF)||Proof the other party received documents.||Must be filed for the case to be resolved.||Acceptance of Service Form (DOC)|
|Affidavit of Service (PDF)||Proof that you gave notice to the other party||Must be filed for the case to be resolved.||Affidavit of Service Form (DOC)|
|Agreement (PDF)||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.||Custody Agreement Form (DOC)|
|Complaint (PDF)||To file for custody||This is the first form to file to initiate a custody action. Filing Fee is paid when you file.||Complaint Form (DOC)|
|Complaint-Grandparents and Third Parties (PDF)||For grandparents and third parties to file for custody||This is the first form to file to initiate a custody action. Filing Fee is paid when you file.||Complaint-Grandparents and Third Parties Form (DOC)|
|Contempt (PDF)||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.||Contempt (DOC)|
|Continuance (PDF)||To postpone a hearing||The amount of the fee depends on when you request the continuance.||Continuance Form (DOC)|
|Criminal Background Check (PDF)||Provides information to the Court.||Must be completed upon request of the Conference Officer.||Criminal Background Check (DOC)|
|Custody Education Program (PDF)||This is a requisite to court involvement. Each Party to the custody action must attend and complete a 1 hour seminar prior to the 1 hour meeting.||Contact the Washington County Bar Association to get class information as soon as you file or receive your custody complaint or modification petition.||Custody Education Program (DOC)|
|Modification (PDF)||To Change an existing custody order||N/A||Modification Form (DOC)|
|In Forma Pauperis Petition (PDF)||Petition to be filed to waive filing fees.||This petition must be signed by a judge for filing fees to be waived.||In Forma Pauperis Petition Form (DOC)|
|Parent Plan (PDF)||Provides information to the Court.||Describes the parties' intentions for a custody schedule and provides required criminal background information.||Parent Plan Form (DOC)|
|Relocation (PDF)||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.||Relocation Form (DOC)|
|Special Relief (PDF)||A motion for matters of an emergency nature requesting relief that is not available through a complaint, modification or contempt.||If there is no existing Court Order, you must file a complaint PRIOR to presenting a motion. Must give the other party at least five (5) business day's before going to Motions Court.||Special Relief Form (DOC)|
|Trial De Novo (PDF)||To appeal the decision from the Conference Officer||Be aware that this is "going to trial" and you really should hire an attorney.||Trial De Novo Form (DOC)|
|Withdraw (PDF)||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.||Withdraw Form (DOC)|