Granting a divorce with an open Family Services custody case


There is a Family Services case pending concerning my children while my wife and I are in the middle of a divorce.

Are we still able to finalize our divorce or does the case have to be closed first?


Typically in my state, Missouri judges are hesitant to finalize a divorce if there is a pending/open Division of Family Services case concerning children. It is possible though, for you to achieve a different result depending on the county where you live and the judge that is hearing your case.

The reason why judges hesitate to finalize a divorce while a Family Services case is pending is because the children are considered to be under the legal custody and control of the state.  Thus, it is difficult to enter a formal parenting plan between the mother and father when the judge knows that the state has ultimate decision making power as to visitation and custody.

Nonetheless, Missouri’s divorce law does provide the judge with authority to finalize a divorce if the court considers and makes provisions for child custody/support to the extent that it has jurisdiction.

Cordell & Cordell has well qualified and experienced men’s divorce lawyers located nationwide, including many in Missouri, if you require additional legal assistance.


Michelle Hughes is an Associate Attorney in the Jefferson County, Missouri office of Cordell & Cordell where she practices domestic relations exclusively. Ms. Hughes is licensed in the states of Missouri and Illinois, and the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. A native to metro St. Louis, Ms. Hughes received her BBA in Economics and Finances from McKendree College. She later received her Juris Doctor from Thomas Cooley Law School where she graduated cum laude.

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