If you are not married to your child’s other parent and your child has a legal father, use this form to ask the court for:
- child support, or
- parenting time.
The form has a box you can check for each request.
Where do I file a Complaint for Custody-Support-Parenting Time?
File a Complaint for Custody-Support-Parenting Time in the Probate and Family Court for the county where your child and one of the parents live.
If neither parent lives in the same county as your child, file the complaint in the county where your child lives.
But if you and the other parent have been to court before about your child and the case has not been dismissed, you can file in that court. Find the Probate and Family Court in the right county.
How much does it cost?
- $115.00 is the filing fee.
- $5.00 for the Summons.
- About $30 to pay the deputy sheriff or constable serve the papers. It may cost more if the deputy sheriff or constable has to go very far to serve the papers.
If you cannot afford these fees and costs you can ask the state to pay them using an Affidavit of Indigency form.
What forms do I need?
- A Complaint for Custody-Support-Parenting Time.
- Affidavit Disclosing Care and Custody Proceedings. You need to fill out this form if you have a child. This is a form that tells the court whether or not there are other court cases about your child. This is a complicated form. See Filing the Affidavit Disclosing Care or Custody Proceedings to learn more about what to do with this form and how to fill it out.
- Financial Statement; See How to fill out a Financial Statement for help with this form.
- Affidavit of Indigency. Fill out this form if you are low income and cannot pay the cost of filing the case and serving the papers. The form asks the state to pay the costs. Write that you need the state to pay the filing fees and the costs of serving the papers. See What if I cannot afford the cost of going to court? to understand how this form works and what to expect when you file it at court.
- A Motion form to ask for Temporary Orders if you need them. People usually ask for temporary orders for things that can’t wait, like custody and child support.
If you file a Motion, you will also need to file an Affidavit in support of your motion and a Proposed Order.
You can get these forms in the clerk's office of any Probate and Family Court in Massachusetts. You can also get the forms on the Probate and Family Court’s website. The forms are free.
What else do I need to file?
You will need to file a copy of either
- a signed voluntary acknowledgment of paternity or
- a court judgment saying who the father is.
Some courts have people who can help you fill out the forms. Ask the clerk at the courthouse if your court has anyone to help you.
- Fill out the forms and give them to the clerk. The clerk will stamp each form with the date. You have "filed your case."
- After the clerk stamps the forms with the date, ask for 2 copies of everything. 1 copy is for you. The other copy is to "serve." The clerk may say you need to pay for the copies or make the copies yourself. There will be a way to do this at the courthouse.
What do I do next?
The next thing you must do is serve the Domestic Relations Summons that the clerk gives you.