I want to get temporary custody of my son. I have already filed the paperwork but my soon-to-be-ex now wants to take my son back since the divorce has started rolling. Obviously, I want to make sure he stays with me. What can I do to make that happen?
Absent a court order setting the temporary custody, or perhaps a state law which dictates which parent is presumed to have the temporary custody in divorce cases, you and your wife have equal legal rights to your son and a tug-of-war can ensure. Once there is a court case on file, you have the mechanism available to obtain judicial intervention to keep your son with you. Your attorney should pursue temporary relief (pendente lite) orders in your case to set the custody and visitation terms pending the conclusion of the case. Depending upon the circumstances leading up to your son being with you, you should have a strong case for the court to keep the custody of your son with you as it existed at the time you filed, as courts generally prefer to maintain the status quo while the case is pending.
You should discuss immediately with your attorney the procedures and standards for obtaining an order for temporary custody of your son. The temporary custody order can be critical to your case, as “temporary” may be months, or even years, depending upon the issues and scheduling in your case. While not technically binding on the final decision as to custody, the temporary arrangements can influence the final decision based upon what transpires with regard to the child (schooling, health care, activities, etc) during the period of the temporary custody.
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.