Does your case involve a material change in circumstances between two parents who are not married and have a child in common?
If yes, then contact the Juvenile Court Clerk’s Office: (615) 862-7980.
The Petitioner is resonsible for providing an address for service of process on the Respondent at the time of filing.
Does your case involve a material change in circumstances between two parties other than biological parents? Example: Parent and family member or Parent and friend.
• If yes, then proceed below
Did the change of custody occur in the Davidson County, Juvenile Court?
• If yes, then contact the Neglect/Dependency Intake Division:
o (615) 862-8079 o (615) 862-8052 o (615) 862-8011
• If no, then the individual should contact the last court of record involved in the custody change.
What are the steps to file for custody?
• The Petitioner may pick up the Intake paperwork from the Neglect/Dependency Intake Division, Juvenile Court, and Davidson County, located at 100 Woodland Street, Nashville Tennessee, 37213.
o The Division is located on the entry level of the court.
• The paperwork may be mailed to the Petitioner upon request.
• An Intake Appointment will be scheduled either in person or by phone.
o An Intake Appointment is a specific date and time for the Petitioner to arrive in order to file their petition for returned custody.
How much is the filing fee?
• The filing fee is $124.00.
How may I qualify for a fee waiver?
• The Petitioner may qualify for a waiver by showing proof of income, benefit, or disability.
Where can I pick up the fee waiver paperwork?
• This is supplied by the Juvenile Court Clerk’s Office, located on the lower level of the Juvenile Court.
Will I be appointed an attorney to represent me?
• No. An attorney would not be appointed to represent a Petitioner in this matter.
What happens at the intake appointment?
• Intake staff reviews the Petitioner’s completed paperwork and child’s file.
• Intake staff type up the Petitioner’s request for custody into a computer template.
• The Petitioner will sign their petition and summons for an initial court hearing called an appearance hearing.
• A valid ID must be presented and copied for back ground check purposes.
What happens at the initial court date?
• The initial court date is called an appearance hearing:
• The Judicial Officer explains why the parties are here and what their rights are regarding their child(ren).
• A determination will be made whether or not a Guardian Ad litem (GAL) is required in this matter.
o A GAL is an attorney that represents the best interest of a child.
• A determination will be made whether or not DCS needs to be notified especially if DCS was involved in the initial removal.
• A determination will be made whether or not CASA will be involved.
o CASA is a not-for-profit nationally recognized organization which advocates for the best interest of children.
• Mediation between the Petitioner and current Guardian may be ordered
• The case may be set for a settlement hearing.
• If the case is set for a settlement hearing then a home study on the Petitioner’s home may be ordered and/or drug screens ordered.
What is a home study?
• A home study involves a Juvenile Court Probation Officer, Guardian Ad Litem, or CASA volunteer visiting the Petitioner’s home to determine whether or not the home is appropriate for a custody placement.
How long will the process take from beginning to end?
• Depends on your case and the involved situation.