Do I need a lawyer to file contempt charges in Child Custody in Alabama?

We routinely get questions sent to our firm or posted generally in various fora. This question was sent to us, anonymously, and although we can’t provide legal advise specific to anyone’s situation, we can respond, generally, here.

Original Question: Do i need a lawyer to file contempt charges on my daughter’s father? Can I have an ammendment to court order?


Hey there! Thanks for writing to our team here at Foxtrot Family Law. Thank you for your courage and commitment to your case and for investing your time and energy in making sure that your daughter’s best interests are served, and that the other side is complying with the law. Your specific question is, “do I need a lawyer to file contempt charges on my daughter’s father?” Your other question is, “can I have an amendment to court order?”

We’re going to unpack that first question first, and we’re going to approach that question in two ways. The first is a strictly legal frame, and the second frame is an effectiveness frame. So I’m going to paraphrase your first question, “do I need a lawyer to file contempt charges on my daughter’s father?”

I’ll change that to,

“Do I legally have to have a lawyer to file contempt charges on my daughter?”

The answer to that question is no. But here’s the more important question, I think for your purposes and for your daughter’s well-being, 

“Do I need a lawyer to be effective in filing contempt charges on my daughter’s father and actually achieving the goals I want for myself and my family?”

And the answer to that question is an unqualified yes, absolutely, oh my gosh, of course you do!

The chances of you being able to be effective here on your own without any assistance from a child custody lawyer is so minuscule as to be either unmeasurable or irrelevant. I cannot overstate that point. So when responding to your question, yes, you need a lawyer, yes, you can have an amendment to a court order, modify your court order, or get a different version of your court order. But yes, you need a lawyer. If you’re going to try to do anything on your own, you might as well just not, and not waste your time, energy, and perhaps whatever funds might invest in a filing fee. 

I’m sorry to put it so bluntly, but frankly, on this earth at least, there is more of an abundance of financial resources than there is an abundance time. So you’re talking about, “do I need a lawyer?” 

Theoretically, could you put your own time and energy into this? Yes, it’d be a waste of your time, a waste of your energy.

You could use that time and energy to serve your community in a way that you are qualified and competent to serve your community, e.g., your job or a side-hustle, and then invest those funds with a team like ours who is qualified and competent to serve our community by doing stuff like this, for people like you trying to stand up for themselves and their families.

So please, yes, technically, you have every legal right to file a contempt action against the other side of a child custody case without a lawyer, but don’t, that’s not good for you. That’s not good for anybody, and it’s definitely not good for the child or children involved in your case.

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