Ask A Lawyer: How Do I Regain My Parental Rights?


I have lived and worked in the Texarkana area for the past six months. My wife and daughters still live in our home in Harper, Texas. I told her last week that I wanted a divorce. She got the church involved and they had her take the kids away this weekend when she knew I was driving down to see them. The church instructed her to hide my children from me, even to take their cell phones so I would be unable to contact them. My wife will not answer any of the phones and she will not let my daughters call me.

I have not filed for divorce yet, but will. How can I regain my parental rights?



You must commence appropriate legal proceedings to establish your independent parental rights as against your wife’s parental rights.  While you have parental rights as to third persons while you are married, the ability to adjudicate parental differences between spouses outside of legal proceedings is generally limited to avoiding domestic disturbances or invoking child protection services.   It is generally preferable to commence custody or divorce proceedings against your spouse to establish your parental rights, as police or family services involvement can result in complications or unanticipated consequences.  If you are concerned with the safety or welfare of your children and wish to involve authorities, you should review that option with your attorney.  Consult a qualified and experience custody firm, such as Cordell & Cordell, as soon as possible to protect your children and your parental rights.


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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