The laws that govern child custody and family law matters overall are state-specific. There are several places in which a person can locate and research the laws of her state on the topic of child custody. Those locations include hard copy materials, online information and live assistance from legal professionals.
Hard copy materials on child custody laws
A person seeking to research child custody laws for his state can locate copies of those laws at their nearest law school library. The statutes for a state; state statutes’ index; and any annotations, amendments and other commentaries are all housed at such local libraries. Usually, reference librarians, staff members or law students can probably assist with conducting this custody research. There are also copiers available to make copies of key pages of reference materials, as statute books are not typically in circulation. Some courthouses also have law libraries open to the public, and accordingly, hard copy material can be accessed there. Local law firms may likewise have hard copy libraries and might be willing to provide limited public access to reference materials.
Online materials on child custody laws
Parties seeking child custody laws and related information can simply utilize the Internet to find information. Several websites have listings of the 50 states with links to states’ specific child custody laws, government agencies, other related state statutes, family courts, state-specific reference sites and related information sources. The following list represents a prudent launching point for conducting online research on child custody laws in your state:
- Custody Forms;
- Child Custody Laws by State;
- Single Parents;
- State Links
There are also online legal research databases with subscriber fees, like Westlaw® and LexisNexis®. These reference services are available if you enroll for the research service or access it at a local law school or courthouse law library. You can prepare queries online in a search language to find state statutes on child custody, as well as secondary source materials like reviews, treatises and commentaries.
Live assistance from professionals on child custody laws
Lawyers; reference librarians at law firms, courthouse libraries and law schools; and law professors are professionals who may be available by phone, e-mail or in person to answer discrete and limited questions about child custody laws specific to a certain state’s jurisdiction. These professionals may be able to provide substantive topical assistance for free or a fee, or at least direct a party to additional sources for further information.