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I Was Sued for Child Custody in DC: Do I Need a Lawyer?

While you are legally not required to have an attorney to represent you on your child custody case in Washington, DC, your chances of a successful outcome are much better if you hire a lawyer who regularly handles these types of cases.

Child custody and child support are among the most difficult issues to deal with in any family law case.  The situation is usually emotionally charged, and your child’s other parent may be willing to tell lies about you in court to get what he or she wants. 

There are variety of reasons a parent will petition the court for child custody.  Sometime it is really out of love for the child, and a feeling he or she is in a better position to raise your child.  At times the other parent be may be arguing for custody because he or she wants money from you in child support payments.   Sometimes the other parent is only fighting for custody to make your life miserable.  While it is unfortunate, these things happen every day in the District of Columbia.

The process begins with one parent (plaintiff) filing a child custody and/or child support petition with the District of Columbia Family Court, which is a division of the Superior Court.  Petitioner must then serve the other parent (defendant) with a summons and complaint. 

The complaint will likely contain a series of allegations about how you are not fit be your own child’s parent.  There may be accusations that you are have a drinking problem, or use drugs.  There may be other allegations you constantly go out at night and leave your child home alone where he or she could be injured.  Even though these may all be lies, the judge may believe them on their face and order temporary custody to the parent who filed the child custody case. 

You will be given a date for a hearing where the judge will hear evidence and decide whether to leave this temporary child custody order in place while the entire case is pending.  The best thing you can do if you find yourself in this situation is to contact a Washington, DC child custody lawyer as soon as possible.  The sooner you retain an attorney, the sooner he can file a motion with the Family Court to vacate this temporary order, and schedule a hearing to fight the false allegations so you can have custody of your child again. 

Whiles some choose to go to Family Court and fill out a motion themselves, your chances of reversing a temporary order are greater if you have experienced legal representation on your side.  This is true whether or not plaintiff has his or her own attorney.  

In addition to filing an emergency motion to address a temporary child support issue, you may also be required to answer certain pleadings within a time period established by the court. 


This situation is obviously one where the parties are not currently in a divorce proceeding.  If you are also getting a divorce, your attorney can address child custody and child support during your DC divorce case. 

If you are dealing with a child support issue in Washington, DC, or any other family law issue, please contact Law Office of Daniel A. Gross, PLLC by calling (202) 596-5716 for a confidential consultation. 



Practice Areas

  • Washington, DC Divorce +

    Getting a divorce can be one of the most difficult decisions of your life. Whether you were married recently or Read More
  • Washington, DC Child Custody and Visitation Law +

    Litigating child support issues can be one of the more complex and emotional issues in any divorce or family law Read More
  • Washington, DC Child Support +

    Child support is one of the most heavily litigated areas of Washington, DC divorce and family law cases. Sometimes, the Read More
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