Ask A Lawyer: Can I See My Son Without A Court Order?


I haven’t seen my son in two months and my divorce hearing is scheduled for this month. There is no court order as of yet but her lawyer has sent my lawyer a letter stating that if I sign an agreement that is not acceptable, I can see him. Is there anything I can do to see my son now?




Your question indicates that you are in Missouri and, if the divorce is proceeding in Missouri, there should have been temporary orders entered to address the custody and visitation pending the outcome of the case.  If the hearing you are referencing is the final hearing, then the time for addressing temporary issues would appear to be past and you should focus on preparing for litigating the final hearing to obtain the results you want.  If the scheduled final hearing is postponed for any reason, then you need to obtain a temporary order to address the custody and visitation until the rescheduled final hearing.  If the hearing you are referencing is on temporary issues, then now would be the time to pursue the temporary custody and visitation schedule.  Unfortunately, the only way to assure visitation with your son is through a court order.  Agreeing to a final judgment on unacceptable terms in order to be able to see your son is unreasonable and usually sets up problems for the future due to the unfavorable terms.  The initial divorce judgment sets the stage for any future efforts at modification of custody and visitation, such that you should only agree to terms you can live with and do not assume that you will be able to obtain modifications in the future just to get a quick resolution.  You should review these issues with your attorney to determine the exact status of your case and options for obtaining a temporary visitation order.   Your attorney will explain to you the timetables, legal expense, and strategic issues on your options so that you can make an informed decision on how to proceed. 



Richard Coffee is a Litigation Manager in the Belleville Illinois office of Cordell & Cordell. He is an experienced divorce attorney whose practice is devoted to domestic litigation. He is licensed in the State of Illinois and is admitted to practice law in the U.S. District Courts for Northern, Central and Southern Illinois.

Mr. Coffee has extensive domestic litigation trial experience representing clients in courts throughout Illinois on all aspects of domestic litigation, including the representation of clients who are current or retired military personnel with issues under the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act and the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act, clients involved in state court jurisdictional disputes due to the relocation of one or both parties from or to Illinois, and clients with government or private pension benefit valuation and division issues. 


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