Do you need a basic sample motion, form, or template for your state? Most states have basic forms and samples online. For your convenience we have linked you to the forms and petitions in your state — see the column to the right.
If you are going through a child custody suit be aware that these forms are NOT designed to protect your parental rights. Before they take advantage of you and you enter your forms, find out how your fundamental parental rights can protect you from spending thousands of extra dollars on discovery, and save you from the cost of approaching your suit with the belief that you have to fight the other parent in order to keep your rights.
We understand how difficult these times are, so we provide all of our training materials through our membership site. Just become a member to access all of our training materials.
The link to the pro se family court forms from the states are set up to streamline the process for the court and to make the court cases move faster for the court’s benefit. The family court’s idea of efficiency may mean that you get thrown into a process that takes advantage of you and sucks you dry of all of your assets and financial resources. If you value everything you have worked hard to earn and save and want to keep spending your time and money on developing your child, you will want to alter the forms that you use from your state and add the protections you need to win your equal child custody without being taken advantage of or having to destroy the other parent or face destruction yourself.
Presumptions forcing you into limited choices
As an example, some forms make presumptions, like in California and Idaho (just to name a couple), where they provide you limited choices and make you believe that the only things you can ask for are what they provide in their check boxes. You can actually write your own forms and use their format as a template. For instance, you must have certain things like a header on your motion or pleading a specific way and signature blocks, acknowledgements, as well as certain certificates and sometimes an affidavit and sometimes notarize some of the forms. (You find those in your local rules of civil procedure. For instance, in California these would be called California Rules of Civil Procedure or CRCP. Every state has a Rules of Civil Procedure. Just put the name of your state in front of it and google it and you will find yours. The best source for rules is the highest court in your state, “supreme court” in most states. This is the best way to make sure that it is the most recent version of the rules. If you are not sure, you can call your local law library or legal aid self-help center and ask them which version is the most recent.
Make sure that you take out anything in the form that is going to disadvantage you in the court. If it is a pre-fillable form, cross it out if it cannot be deleted. You can even re-type the portions of the form that you want into a Word document and create your own form. Just remember not to leave out anything that is required by statute like the certificates, signature blocks, and any acknowledgments required by your court.
Don't lose sight of the purpose
Remember the motion/pleading/form is guiding the court and telling them what you are asking for and what law that should guide your request. The law that you use will determine what relief you can get. If you do not want to waive your right to ask the court to protect yours and your child’s rights, then you might NOT want to check the box that says you are asking the court to make a best interest decision for your child.The image below is from a Colorado form that is designed to lock you into their corrupt process and make it difficult for you to assert your rights. Their purpose is very different from your purpose. They don't care about your legal interest nor do they care about your child's best interests or they wouldn't violated your child's rights in their desire to punish you. The image below comes from box 19 on their JDF 1101 pro se form:
Protect yourself - Don't be afraid to reject their defaults
First you want to address the Court's jurisdiction over you and your child. Add some or all of the following:
This Court has federal jurisdiction regarding the federal questions raised herein and a resulting non-discretionary duty to fully exercise that discretion. Any excuse presented to avoid this duty that conflicts with federal law is NOT a valid excuse.
The parties bring before this court a conflict regarding the simultaneous exercise of full and equal INDIVIDUAL and FUNDAMENTAL federal rights. This is a civil suit between private parties raising federal questions invoking this court's federal jurisdiction via the supremacy clause. Being private parties in a civil suit, neither party has a right of action against the rights of the other party and thus cannot invoke any governmental jurisdiction to alter, deny, or enhance INDIVIDUAL and FUNDAMENTAL federal rights. This Court’s jurisdiction is limited to resolving the federal conflict of rights between the litigants alone and cannot include any relief for or in the interests of any third party non-litigant whether they be the child subject of the rights at issue or the state seeking to impose its viewpoint regarding matters of conscience in child-rearing. Any such relief to third parties would be advisory in nature and would introduce structural bias into the proceedings.
Being INDIVIDUAL and FUNDAMENTAL federal rights, the state's creation of a status classifying married individuals differently from unmarried individuals can have no part in resolving the conflict of federal right which must be resolved by federal law alone. Having no standing in this suit, the state has no right to assert its interests and if this court were to provide relief in the absence of standing, the resulting orders would be advisory in nature and non-binding on the litigants.
Given that the right to make choices regarding marriage, including the dissolution of the marital association, is an INDIVIDUAL and FUNDAMENTAL federal right, this Court is constitutionally barred from punishing the exercise of the right by using an exercise of the protected choice as a statutory trigger authorizing governmental limitation on constitutional rights.
Given that the right to make choices regarding establishing a home in which to raise one's child, is an INDIVIDUAL and FUNDAMENTAL federal right, this Court is constitutionally barred from punishing the exercise of the right by using an exercise of the protected choice as a statutory trigger authorizing governmental limitation on constitutional rights.
This Court must prove its jurisdiction over the rights of the litigants and may not presume that jurisdiction exists based on overturned 19th Century beliefs regarding marriage as the source of parental rights which underpin every aspect of state statutory authority authorizing this Court to presume jurisdiction to violate INDIVIDUAL and FUNDAMENTAL constitutional guarantees based either upon marital status or on privacy choices exercised by the parties.
The supremacy clause instructs judges as to the hierarchy of law and holds that neither the state constitution nor the state legislature may grant this court jurisdiction to ignore constitutional guarantees established by the federal constitution. The presiding judge of this court bound himself or herself to that instruction through the sacred oath mandated through Article VI. It is objectively unreasonable for this Court to hold or for any party to believe that the federal constitution is anything less than the supreme law in this courtroom where matters of domestic relations between husband and wife, parent and parent, or parent and child are at issue.
I/We seek equitable relief from this court under federal jurisdiction to declare following a substantial rights analysis precisely which federal rights are at risk of erroneous deprivation in these or related state domestic relations proceedings.
I/We seek equitable relief from this court under federal jurisdiction to declare following an equal protection rights analysis precisely which classifications will be employed for the purpose of limiting the federal rights of either litigant in these or related state domestic relations proceedings.
I/We seek equitable relief from this court under federal jurisdiction to determine via adjudication what process is due to the litigants in these proceedings given the substantive and equal protection rights at risk of erroneous deprivation in these and subsequent state domestic relations proceedings.
I/We object to any jurisdiction this Court claims to grant relief to or in the interests of any third parties who are not litigants in the proceedings and who lack standing to be litigants in these proceedings.
I/We object to any jurisdiction this Court claims to grant relief limiting fundamental rights of a litigant upon the request of a private party.
I/We object to any jurisdiction this Court claims to grant relief limiting fundamental rights of a litigant in vindication of a state public policy which requires limitation of fundamental rights in direct violation of the federal public policy holding that state judges have a federal duty to protect the rights of litigants.
I/We object to any jurisdiction this Court claims to grant relief limiting fundamental rights of a litigant in vindication of a state public policy where the state has failed to appear and overcome its burden of proof in the record subject to full confrontation and cross-examination.
I/We object to the presiding judge of this Court performing executive duties in attempting, themselves, to overcome the burden of proof required for a state policy authorizing infringement of fundamental rights to survive scrutiny. Such action is not in the nature of judicial action and violates the separation of powers doctrine because it requires the judge to become and advocate for the state and take on a position of adversity against the litigants which deprives the court of a constitutionally mandated pre-requisite to the exercise of judicial authority. The purpose of public policy is to protect the constitutional rights of persons as a default proposition, not as a means for the state to violate constitutional guarantees by fiat.
From that baseline of limiting the court's jurisdiction, you want to address the individual issues you need adjudicated.
If this is a divorce proceeding add:
One or both litigants have exercised their fundamental right to make privacy choices regarding marriage and have terminated their intimate and expressive marital association as a matter of First Amendment protected right. While this Court lacks jurisdiction to compel the litigants to remain in a marital association against either litigant's objection, this Court is empowered with the entirely administrative task of legally removing the state created status of married from being associated with either party.
I/We have exercised our fundamental right to dissolve our marital association. Consequently:
I/We ask that the Court remove the state's recognition of our marital union and declare the state status "married" be dissolved and for each party's status to revert back to its pre-marital condition.
You may want to add some language articulating what the interests of the child are in relation to your marriage to the child's other parent and to your suit for custody rights. These are not the rights your court is currently applying because your court is applying laws that are based on 19th century ideas and beliefs about marriage and parental rights which the Supreme Court has resoundingly overturned. By introducing this language, you are instructing your court to catch up with the current state of federal law and the limitations it places on the actions the court may take.
As to the interests of the child:
The Supreme Court has held that children do NOT have any constitutional right to their best interests being met, they only have claim to minimum reasonable standards of care and providing those minimum reasonable standards of care establishes a parent fit and protected form government invasions of their private lives.
Where the child is in the care of a presumptively fit parent, that child has no conflict with that parent and can show no concrete injury sufficient to establish standing against that parent. Consequently, the state can demonstrate no standing to act in the interests of the child.
Should the Court claim that it must act in the best interest of the child, the judge is declaring a position of adversity against the litigants and must immediately recuse.
While the child may have an interest in the divorce of its parents, the child lacks any standing to have its interests asserted simply because its parents exercise a protected right regarding their entirely-independent-from-the-child marital association.
The child has no right to have married parents and cannot lawfully be injured by either parent choosing to dissolve the marital association or from the state lawfully withdrawing the legal status of married from the litigants for the supremacy clause voids any state law imposing costs on the exercise of a right.
The child does have fundamental rights to each parent concomitant to the rights of the parent that are INDIVIDUAL and FUNDAMENTAL as to the child. This Court can no more violate the constitutional guarantees of the child to speech, association, worship, and family privacy with each parent than it can void the constitutional guarantees of the parents.
It is objectively unreasonable for this Court to claim that it, as a state actor taking state action under color of the state constitution and family code, can act in the child’s best interest by causing irreparable harm to the child’s interests by violating the child’s constitutional guarantees for its concomitant rights with each parent and both parents.
Any declaration by a state actor to have broad authority to reorder the intimate and expressive close family associations of a child is a declaration or war against the federal constitution because the federal constitution absolutely denies the use of broad governmental authority to reorder fundamental rights protected by the First Amendment or any other amendment. It is also a declaration of war against the child’s right to be free from unwarranted government interference in its private life.
You will want to address child custody and the court's misguided belief that it can grant you a fundamental right you already have. The court has no such authority and any such granting of rights to one parent is necessarily a violation of the rights of the other parent. Because your rights are individual rights, they do not dissapear when you divorce and you do not have to be married for them to be yours.
Free Association Rights
As to limitations on the parent-child association and derivative fundamental rights
The parties are fit parents who come to this court with full and equal First Amendment protected INDIVIDUAL and FUNDAMENTAL rights to have and to maintain intimate and expressive, close family, parent-child speech, association, worship, and family privacy; with full and equal INDIVIDUAL and FUNDAMENTAL right to establish a home in which to raise the child independent from the other parent which the state may neither punish nor make dependent upon state license to exercise the right without violating the supremacy clause.
State court judges have a higher non-discretionary public duty to protect the rights of litigants including the rights of parents in custody suits between fit parents.
While the state may have an interest in protecting the best interests of children, the Supreme Court has held that interest to be less than compelling, and the mere substantial interest of the state does not convey to the state any standing to act in the interests of a child against the interests of either parent until such time as the state has proven through adjudication that the interests of that parent and the child diverge sufficiently for the state to intervene. Nothing in the nature of the child’s parents exercising protected choices regarding marriage to third parties or to each other can suffice to provide the state standing to intervene in this civil suit between private parties. Should the presiding judge seek to advocate for the state’s interests, the presiding judge must be disqualified for displaying bias against the litigants and bias against federal law.
Until the state demonstrates compelling justification for further limiting of either parent’s rights in a constitutionally compliant separate proceeding, no state limitations on this Court’s federal equitable authority my limit the relief available to this Court when it exercises its federal jurisdiction.
I/We seek an adjudication of federal rights under this Court’s federal jurisdiction through the application of the Mathews Balancing Test and issuance of equitable relief that resolves the conflict of parent-child association and derivative rights between the parties via the least restrictive means available to the court which is and must always be compliance with federal public policy to protect the individual rights of the litigants fully and equally.
I/We seek a federal injunction against any attempt by the state either directly or through public policy to insert control over my/our parental rights without first demonstrating standing to intervene and overcoming the burden of proof necessary to justify limitations on fundamental rights.
I/We seek a federal injunction against any consideration of the interests of a third-party non-litigant in the resolution of the conflict of fundamental parental rights between the litigants.
At Fix Family Courts we offer training packages and motions packages that help with the specifics of these requests. We have a sample petition that shows you how to articulate your rights and requests of the court in a way that better protects your rights than the standard forms you are likely to find. While our materials are training aides not forms, they will help you better express your desire to have your rights protected and to have an equal relationship with your child.
What we provide above is not all that we would add to your documents and you need to learn how to defend these statements to the court. You will want to do as much of that in writing will full legal citations included. This is part of what we provide. Our sample documents have comprehensive fully cited and supported arguments. Our training helps you understand how to handle yourself in court before the judge and the opposing counsel. You need the confidence our training can provide.
Be aware, if you use a form that says you want the court to grant or allocate your rights, the court may see this as you are consenting to the court to skip over constitutional guarantees that protect you from the court taking your rights. This is called waiver. While we disagree that this is a legally sufficient waiver, there is no reason to take that risk. Why make it harder on yourself than necessary. You can just replace the words "grant" or "allocate" with the words “protect and preserve” your rights and your child’s rights.
Idaho has this in their form under number 6 and 7 on the CAO D 1-5 Petition for Divorce with Children form.Back to Top
Below are links to the pro se forms that we are aware of.
Beginner's Guide to Family Law
A Simplified Path to Parental Rights
For a loving parent, a child custody suit can be a time of terror. The most important thing in your life is at stake and it doesn't take long to figure out that the system is rigged against you. This book provides simple straight forward and easy to understand ways to help ensure that your rights get protected. This is the starter guide for you to protect your rights.