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What is a Child Custody Transfer?


A transfer of child custody refers to a deliberate brought about change in the guardianship rights of a parent or a guardian. The decision to transfer custody happens when the guardian, parent, or court decides it is in the best interest of a child/children if the living conditions are not suitable and the needs of the child are not being met properly. In many states, parents and sole legal custodians can grant the transfer without intervention from a court. However, if custody is shared usually legal counsel maybe needed.

How to Transfer Child Custody?

The first step is to make sure that the person receiving custody can provide a good stable living environment for the child. Once the parents or guardians have made a voluntary agreement about the transference of custody rights, they will have to file a petition before the court asking them to grant the custody transfer.

When a child’s custody is transferred from one parent/guardian to another, paperwork will need to be filed with the court. Each state has different custody and visitation papers to fill out during the transfer process.

  • Locate the state paperwork.

Usually the state paperwork for child custody is located under the state family law court websites. If the paperwork is not available online, go to the local family court and ask for the appropriate paperwork.

  • Prepare a proposed custody agreement.

Before transferring custody, you or your attorney will need to prepare a document outlining the details of the custody change. The agreement should list your name and relationship to the child, the child's full name and date of birth and the name and relationship of the person to whom you are transferring custody. After you have created a custody agreement that both you and the new custodian agree upon, both of you will need to sign and date it in the presence of a notary public.

  • Take the paperwork to the family court.

Submit your agreement to the court of the proper jurisdiction. If there is already an open custody case on your child, you will need to file your custody agreement with the court before you may place the child with his new guardian. If the court is not presently involved but your state still mandates judicial approval for custody changes, the court of jurisdiction will be that of the child's home state

  • Attend the hearing on your case.

After you have submitted your proposed custody agreement to the court, the clerk will assign you a hearing date. At your hearing, you will have the opportunity to discuss your reasons for relinquishing custody of the child. The court will then assess the fitness of your chosen guardian. If the judge agrees to your custody plan, she will enter an order formally removing the child from your custody. The court will make a careful examination of the circumstances being offered to the child and his best interest.

There are many reasons a person or family may want to transfer custody of a child. Making sure you have the right resources and information can make the transition easier to deal with. 

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