Does anyone know if I can get custody of my two children without going through a lawyer. The childrens’ father and I were never married & he is the father listed on the birth certificates (if that makes a difference) and he recently moved out of state. I am the only one working currently & have been for some time, my ex does not have a way to support the children. I want to get legal custody of the children because he recently took them out of state (while I was at work) for over a week without telling me & at one point was refusing to bring them back. I am concerned that without a custody order, he could do the same thing again. I have talked with an attorney in town, but the fee for a custody agreement was very high & if it is possible I would like to do the paperwork myself. I’ve heard of websites such as etc, but wasn’t sure how reliable they are.
Also I need to know if I have to have the custody order in place 1st before I can file for child support. The father of my children is in Missouri, will this require me to have an attorney in that state as well, or will they enforce any order that is issued in NC since it is the home of record for the children?
Thank you.

You may file an action for emergency custody if the children are at an immediate risk of being taken out of state. I think you have a good case for it, since he has already taken the children out of state with him and threatened not returning them. You can then file an action for permanent child custody and support, and set a hearing date so the judge can make a ruling on a custodial schedule.

The Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) has been adopted by all 50 states. Essentially, it says that the “home state” is the state in which a child lived with a parent for at least six consecutive months immediately preceeding the time of filing a petition for support, and if a child is less than six months old, the state in which the child lived from birth with any of them. You can therefore file for child support in NC, as long as you have lived there for at least the timeframe described above. The proper jurisdiction for child support is the state where the payor lives, that is MO. You may need a MO attorney to register your order in MO. The best advice I can offer you is to register the order there, which you may able to do through your NC’s Child Support Enforcement office for free instead of through a MO attorney. Your support could be filed in NC, and then the Order would be registered in MO for enforcement.

Thank you for the advice. So who do I need to speak with to file an emergency custody order without a lawyer?

You need to file a motion for emergency custody. Some counties have go-by documents as part of their self help clinics, I suggest you call your local courthouse to see if they have a self-help center.