Home » Misc » How to write a petition for child custody
How to write a petition for child custody
How to Write a Declaration Letter For Child Custody
Because the family court system is so crowded, under Colorado child custody laws judges and others often base their decisions partially or entirely on written statements. These sworn statements are called declarations. If you are directed to write a declaration letter, you are sworn to tell the truth, just as you would if you were testifying in person in front of the judge.
A declaration letter for child custody is a statement, on your behalf, presenting your evidence and insights regarding your child custody case. This may be reviewed by the judge, your child’s guardian ad litem, and anyone else who can influence the outcome of your case. It’s very important to get this letter right, as it can play a very significant role in your case.
Essential Declaration Letter Tips
Write clearly, and use your own words. Judges don’t expect you to be well-versed in legal terms.
Use bulleted lists for your major points.
Don’t insult or bash your ex. Do make your concerns known objectively.
Attach evidence such as pay stubs or bank statements, but redact SSN and account numbers. Do not disclose sensitive information in a letter.
Affirm that you are making your statement under oath, and under penalty of perjury.
Make reasonable demands.
Remember that judges appreciate brevity.
Ask a professional attorney to review and edit your declaration letter before you post it.
Child Custody Declaration Letter Sample
It’s very important that the letter you submit is well-organized, and that it contains all of the information needed to make a decision. Here is a sample outline you can use as a reference for writing your own letter.
Provide introductory information here, and summarize what you are asking for.
Example: John Smith and I were married in July 2012. We had our first child together in March of 2013, and another in July 2015. I am asking for physical custody and supervised visitation for John Smith.
Summarize the current situation regarding custody and support.
Example:Since our separation three months ago, the children have been living with me exclusively. John Smith has paid agreed-upon child support. He has only seen the children on one occasion. I am living in the family home and paying the mortgage and utilities. John Smith is staying in an unknown location.
Statement of Facts
Here you assert the evidence that you believe will compel the judge to rule in your favor. Avoid any temptation to engage in character assassination, but do state your concerns.
Example:If the children live with me, they will be able to maintain the home they are used to, and attend the same school and activities as they have in the past. Supervised visitation will allow them to have a relationship with John Smith while reducing their risk of being impacted by his anger issues. Evidence of these anger issues includes Mr. Smith being ordered into anger management classes by the court in January of 2017, and the issuance of a restraining order in September of 2018.
State exactly what you want from the court here. Don’t make demands though. Neutrally summarize your preferable terms of custody.
Example: Given the information above, I am asking the court to order that the children live with me full time and that John Smith receive supervised visitation at regular intervals. I would like support to continue to be paid as it has been.
This example provides a general framework for writing your letter. Within an actual declaration, you will want to provide a greater level of details concerning:
Parenting during marriage/relationships
Address any claims/declarations filed to the court by your ex-spouse
If you’ve been asked to write a declaration letter, it’s best to seek assistance from a lawyer specializing in child custody in Colorado. They can provide both legal advice and much-needed perspective as you write your declaration. Professional help can be pivotal in ensuring that your case is resolved in your favor.
Contact the Family Law professionals at Tolison & Williams today to get all of your child custody questions answered.
Tags: Child Custody
Previous Post How to Sign Over Custody of a Child to a Grandparent in Colorado
Next Post Does Signing Over Parental Rights Stop Child Support?
Sample Declaration Letter to Judge for Child Custody
Declaration letters to the court can be crucial in child custody cases. They can even serve as your testimony if you have a trial by written declaration. Use our sample declaration letter, our downloadable template and the tips below to write yours.
What's a declaration letter?
A declaration letter is a statement of facts that a parent writes as part of a disputed child custody case. It's formal testimony that a judge considers when evaluating a parent's legal and physical custody requests.
A declaration letter declares a parent's intent in seeking custody orders. It summarizes the case, states the custody arrangements the parent wants and argues for those arrangements by showing how they support the child's best interests.
It's your chance to explain to the judge, in writing, the exact custody arrangements you want and why. To help show why the custody arrangements you're requesting are better for your child than what the other parent wants, you can also attach evidence (exhibits) and explain them in the letter.
A declaration letter is different from a character reference letter, which is written by one of your witnesses.
When you may need to write a declaration letter
Ideally, parents should work together to create their parenting plan, parenting time schedule and child support agreement.
When parents can't agree on custody, a judge (or other court official, such as a magistrate) decides the custody orders. Each parent submits paperwork to the court detailing the arrangements they want, along with evidence to help prove that their proposed arrangement is best for the child.
Declaration letters from both parents are often part of this paperwork. They may be required, depending on your state, court and judge.
Judges often use declaration letters to get background information in preparation for a hearing in which parents can offer additional testimony.
However, some courts don't hold a hearing — instead, the judge decides custody based solely on each parent's declaration letter and submitted evidence. This process, sometimes called a trial by written declaration, is common in states and counties that have busy family courts. It also became more common during the COVID-19 pandemic, and some courts are continuing this practice.
If you're writing a declaration letter, be sure you're clear on exactly how the judge is going to use it to decide custody — in preparation for a hearing or to make the final decision.
How to write a declaration letter for child custody
No matter how the judge uses your letter, its stakes are high.
It's crucial that you write an effective, error-free letter that meets all of your court's requirements. Be sure to research your state's child custody process and your court's declaration letter rules. Give yourself plenty of time to write and revise multiple drafts so you can present the best possible statement to the judge.
Your letter should be well-organized and specific to your situation. It should demonstrate your genuine commitment to being a good co-parent, make a thoughtful argument in favor of your custody arrangement and show that you prioritize your child's best interests.
If you have a lawyer, they'll provide guidance on what to include in your letter and, possibly, edit it. However, they shouldn't write the letter for you, since it's your sworn testimony and judges want to hear from parents, not their lawyers.
Heading & salutation: Use the formatting preferred by your court (e. g., business letter or legal document format). Include the personal information your court requires, such as your case number. To address a judge, write "To the honorable Judge," followed by the judge's last name.
Introduction (1 paragraph): State when you and the other parent married (if divorcing) or when you began your relationship (if unmarried). Add when you separated or decided to divorce. Include your children's names and birth dates. Finish the introduction with a one- or two-sentence summary or bulleted list of the custody arrangements you're requesting.
Background (1-2 paragraphs): Give the judge more information about your case. Explain how parenting worked before separation and how co-parenting has worked since separation.
Include information about each parent's work and their work schedule, how expenses are paid, if your child has special needs, the major disputed issues, etc.
Supporting facts & examples (3 or more paragraphs): Explain why your proposed parenting plan and time schedule is best for your child. Give examples of how both parents approach parenting.
If you're attaching evidence (photos, official records, parenting time reports, messages, etc.), explain each exhibit and how it supports your requests. This is the bulk of your letter — it can be several paragraphs or multiple pages.
Be sure to address all of your requests, including child support.
Conclusion (1 paragraph): Clearly restate your custody requests and why they're in your child's best interests.
Sworn statement/oath (1 sentence): You must swear that everything in the letter is true. Check with your court to see if they require certain wording. If your court requires letters to be notarized, don't sign until you're with the notary public or court clerk.
How to format a declaration letter
Your local court — and possibly your judge — will have specific formatting rules for declaration letters and other statements submitted to the court. Your court may prefer that you use standard business letter format, or it may want you to use legal document formatting.
Either way, make sure to follow their rules precisely. These will most likely include requirements for font style and size, margins, line spacing, page numbers, evidence labeling and more. Some courts might also want you to use specific headings.
If you're submitting your letter electronically, you may have to submit it as a certain file type (e.g., PDF).
Pay particular attention to your court's and your judge's page-length requirement. Declaration letters are often multiple pages, especially if the case is complex and there's a lot of evidence to explain.
For example, California limits declaration letters to 10 pages (not including attachments). However, many judges prefer letters to be no more than five pages. Ask the court clerk or your lawyer for guidance on length.
Downloadable template and sample letter to a judge
Below, find a fill-in-the-blank template, as well a detailed example of a declaration letter. Keep in mind that court requirements and preferences vary.
Declaration letter template
Sample declaration letter
Other tips for writing a declaration letter
In addition to proving why your custody arrangement is best for your child, your letter should demonstrate to the judge that you're a responsible and competent co-parent. To do this, keep these additional tips in mind:
Before you start writing, create an outline to organize your ideas.
Write professionally, but in your own voice — don't try to sound like a lawyer.
Don't ramble or repeat yourself, and don't include irrelevant information.
Don't lie or make assumptions not supported by facts and evidence — include only information that you have personal knowledge of.
Don't use inflammatory language or rant about the other parent.
After writing a draft, check that the letter's organization flows logically.
Use spell- and grammar-checking tools, and have someone else proofread it for errors.
Have a lawyer or other legal professional review your letter and give you feedback.
The tools you need for custody court
The Custody X Change app has many co-parenting features and tools to organize evidence and help you win child custody.
Create a detailed parenting plan that shows your requested legal custody arrangements and co-parenting rules in airtight legal language, demonstrating your competency.
Make a custom parenting time schedule to show the judge the exact physical custody arrangement you want.
Keep a custody journal to electronically organize evidence, document incidents and keep a record of co-parenting issues.
Track actual parenting time and get reports to show the judge exactly how much time each parent spends with your child.
Use the secure messaging center to keep an accurate record of your conversations with the other parent.
Link your account to your lawyer's and print your journal, parenting time reports and messages so you can attach them to your declaration letter as evidence.
Custody X Change is software that creates professional parenting plan documents and parenting schedules.
Make My Plan
SAMPLE APPLICATION FOR CUSTODIANS OF A DISABLED CHILD of the 1st group From the age of 18, Krasnoarmeysk | question No. 764057 dated 10/15/2022
In order to obtain custody of a citizen, this citizen must be recognized by a court as legally incompetent due to mental illness. If this is the case, then you need to apply to the court with a statement in the special procedure "On recognizing a citizen incompetent."
If the application is satisfied, then after that the guardian is appointed by the guardianship and guardianship authorities.
If a citizen is not mentally ill, but cannot take care of himself due to another illness, then he can be placed under guardianship in the form of patronage. This will require applications from you and from a disabled child to the guardianship and guardianship authorities.
According to paragraph 4 of Art. 281 of the Code of Civil Procedure of the Russian Federation, an application is submitted to the court at the place of residence of this citizen, and if the citizen is placed in a psychiatric or psycho-neurological institution - at the location of this institution.
Did the answer help you?YesNo
Application for guardianship of a child (sample)
Application for guardianship. The body of guardianship and trusteeship has the right to demand from the citizen who has submitted an application for the appointment of him as a guardian or trustee, to provide information about himself, as well as to request information about him from the internal affairs bodies, civil registry offices, medical and other organizations. The body of guardianship and guardianship has the right to require the provision of only that information about the citizen, which will make it possible to establish his ability to perform the duties of a guardian or trustee. The "list" of documents provided by the citizen who has submitted an application for his appointment as a guardian or trustee, the "terms" for the provision of such documents are determined by the Government of the Russian Federation.
Information about the identity of the alleged guardian or custodian received by the guardianship and guardianship authority is, in accordance with the "legislation" of the Russian Federation in the field of personal data, personal data of citizens (individuals).
Grandparents, parents, spouses, adult children, adult grandchildren, brothers and sisters of an adult ward, as well as grandparents, adult brothers and sisters of a minor ward have the preferential right to be his guardians or trustees over all other persons.
Each citizen who needs to establish guardianship or guardianship over him may have one guardian or trustee, except for cases established by the Federal Law "On Guardianship and Guardianship". One and the same person, as a rule, can be the guardian or trustee of only one citizen. The transfer of underage brothers and sisters under guardianship or guardianship to different persons is not allowed, unless such transfer is in the interests of these children.
Based on the interests of a person who needs to establish guardianship or guardianship over him, the guardianship and guardianship authority may appoint him several guardians or trustees, including when he is placed in a family to raise children left without parental care.
When several guardians or trustees are appointed, representation and protection of the rights and legitimate interests of the ward shall be carried out simultaneously by all guardians or trustees. If the management of the affairs of the ward is entrusted by the guardians or trustees to one of them, this person must have powers of attorney from the other guardians or trustees.
When several guardians or custodians are appointed, the obligations to provide the ward with care and assist in the timely receipt of medical care, and in relation to the minor ward also the responsibilities for his education and upbringing are distributed among the guardians or custodians in accordance with the act of the guardianship and guardianship authority on their appointment or an agreement on the implementation of guardianship or guardianship. In the event that these duties are not distributed, the guardians or trustees shall be jointly and severally liable for their failure to perform or improper performance.
The guardianship and guardianship authority, if necessary, based on the interests of the wards, may appoint the same person as the guardian or custodian of several wards. In the act on the appointment of a person as a guardian or custodian of the second and subsequent wards, the guardianship and guardianship body is obliged to indicate the reasons why another person cannot be appointed as a guardian or custodian. In the event of conflicts between the interests of the wards of the same guardian or custodian in the exercise of their legal representation, the body of guardianship and guardianship is obliged to appoint each of the wards a temporary representative to resolve the contradictions that have arisen.
View other applications to the department of guardianship ...
Application for guardianship of a child
To the guardianship authorities ____________________ __________________________________ From ________________________________ (Full name) __________________________________ of the resident / s at 90 __________________________________ Passport: ________________________________ (series, number, by whom and when issued)
Application for guardianship of a child
Me, ________________________________________ ____ . _______ 20 ___ year of birth (Full name) I ask you to register me as a candidate and give an opinion on the possibility of being a guardian. Financial opportunities, living conditions and health condition allow me to take custody of a child. In parental rights, according to the court, he was not limited/-on and was not deprived/-as, he was not removed from the duties of a guardian/-as. I work __________________________________________________________________ It is necessary to describe the nature of the work: permanent / temporary, production / office / other, whether it is related to long business trips or not, working hours and distance from home. If the applicant is a pensioner, then indicate the type of pension provision, available benefits. If the applicant does not work, then the reasons are indicated: “temporarily, due to ...” / housewife, etc., as well as the source of subsistence. Spouse works ____________________________________________________________ (Full name of the applicant's spouse (if any)) I live in ________________________________________________________________ A brief description of the housing is given: permanent/temporary; communal / hostel / separate, etc. ; the amount of total and living space, the number of rooms; housing ownership: municipal fund / departmental / privatized / private property. Living with me: _______________________________________________ Specify all persons actually living with the applicant and the degree of their relationship to the applicant. The presence among them is indicated: minors, dependents, pensioners, people with disabilities, limited and capable and incapacitated, limited or deprived of parental rights. Additionally, I can report the following about myself ________________________________. Specify everything that the applicant considers necessary to argue for the success of his role as a guardian: education, experience in raising children, awards, community service, support from relatives, etc. Date ________________________ _____________________ (applicant's signature) Spouse, other cohabiting family members (if any) do not object to taking the child into custody. Date ________________________ ______________________________________________ (Full name of the spouse) (signatures of the spouse, other family members)
The following documents are attached to the application: 1. A copy of the marriage certificate, if you are married. 2. Certificate from the place of work indicating the position and salary / copy of the declaration of income, for pensioners - a certificate of the amount of the pension. 3. A copy of the financial personal account. 4. Extract from the house book / certificate of ownership of the dwelling. 5. Medical report.
Application for guardianship of the incapacitated
Head of the Department of Social Policy for _______________ district of Moscow L.I. Bykov ________________________________ surname, name, patronymic of the applicant ________________________________ residential address: telephone ________________________
Application of a citizen who expressed a desire to become a guardian or a trustee of an adult incapacitated or not fully capable citizen
I, (last name, first name, patronymic (if any)), nationality ____________, Identification document: __________ (when and by whom issued), place of residence: (address of residence confirmed by registration), place of stay: (address of place actual residence)
please transfer me under guardianship (guardianship) _____________________________________________ last name, first name, patronymic, date of birth of the incapacitated or limited in capacity
I ask you to transfer me under guardianship (trusteeship) on a reimbursable basis _____________________________________________ surname, name, patronymic, date of birth of the incapacitated or limited in capacity
my personal data contained in this application and in the documents submitted by me.