My wife’s ex is taking us to court to change the custody arrangement for their 2 oldest kids, can we represent ourselves before the judge?

They’re both over 13 and prefer to spend most of their time with their dad. We do not intend to “fight” this. We are aware that we will likely have to pay child support. We would strongly prefer not to incur additional charges to retain a lawyer.

Asked on October 23, 2012 under Family Law, South Dakota


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You can enter in to a voluntary agreement to modify the order and the court may or may not ask the kids their opinion.  If he or she does then they can testify and they should be honest about the reasons - wanting to spend more time with their Dad, etc.  "Because my Mom is too strict" is not a valid reason.  You need to familiarize yourself with the child support laws and calculate the amount so that you will be aware of the order.  You should go in and ask for a conference before the law clerk and ask to enter in to a voluntary modification.  Good luck.

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