How to Write a Declaration for a Child Custody Modification
By Anna Assad
A declaration may mean the difference between an approved child custody modification and a judge's denial of the request. You state events, facts and other information that support the reasons for or against a change in a custody order on the declaration. The declaration is used by witnesses and the parties involved to present information to the judge. The judge reads the declarations received and considers the contents when deciding on a motion in a custody modification case.
Get a child custody modification declaration form and instructions. Visit the official website of the state judicial system to find the family court or contact an attorney on the case and ask for the form.
Complete the top section. Include county of the court (if blank), the names of the parties and the case number. Put the party names in the correct spots. The "Petitioner" is the person asking for custody modification, while the "Respondent" is the other party. Include the full name of the person making the declaration in the labeled line or spot.
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Fill in the middle section. Enter the name and age of the person making the declaration. State the relationship to the petitioner and respondent, such as "friend" or "child's teacher."
Detail the relevant event in the declaration section. Use clearly printed words, correct spelling and proper grammar. Include dates, times and the names of all people involved. Use neutral wording to avoid appearing biased toward one party in the modification. Avoid opinions, such as "I believe the child was scared." Use observations, for example, "The child appeared scared." Explain why a modification is beneficial or not good for the child in the declaration, if a party in the case for whichever side supports your goal.
Sign and date the declaration. Attach any evidence of the event in the declaration. Check court instructions for attachments. Return the form to the court or an attorney on the case.
- Speak to an involved attorney if you do not know what event to cover so you supply new information and not the same details as another witness.
- Use the court-approved modification form only.
Anna Assad began writing professionally in 1999 and has published several legal articles for various websites. She has an extensive real estate and criminal legal background. She also tutored in English for nearly eight years, attended Buffalo State College for paralegal studies and accounting, and minored in English literature, receiving a Bachelor of Arts.