My ex is not following the court order regarding my visitation with the children: what can I do without a lawyer?
In Missouri, there is a law that is specifically intended to be used by parents and third parties who are being denied visitation, without the assistance of a lawyer. There are forms at the courthouse that you can fill out yourself to ask the judge for help if the other parent is denying you visitation without just cause.
If you prove at a hearing that you are being denied visitation without just cause, the judge can help you by:
1. Awarding you make-up time for what you missed (and even more time);
2. Ordering the person who is denying visitation to get counseling to help them understand the importance of the child having a continuing and meaningful relationship with both parents;
3. Ordering the person who is denying visitation to pay for counseling for the child and the parent being denied visitation to re-establish the parent-child relationship;
4. Ordering the person who is denying visitation to pay a fine of up to $500;
5. Ordering the person who is denying visitation to pay the reasonable expenses incurred by the person who has been denied visitation by filing the motion, including the filing fee, cost of serving the family access motion and attorney’s fees.
6. Ordering the person who is denying visitation to post a bond that will be forfeited in the event of future disregard of the custody order, with the idea that this will encourage compliance with the court order.
You may seek the assistance of an attorney with some or all aspects of filing and proceeding on a Family Access Motion. An attorney may assist you with filling out the form and/or filing the form and/or helping arrange service of the Motion and/or advising you about the court hearing on the Motion and/or handling the hearing on the Motion.
Forms for filing a Family Access Motion are available on-line or at the courthouse. Generally, a Family Access Motion must be filed in the court that issued the custody order that is not being followed. There is a filing fee, but that fee may be waived if the Judge determines that you are an indigent person. The Family Access Motion must be served on the person withholding visitation by the Sheriff or a private person authorized to deliver legal papers (a Special Processor Server). This Service fee cannot be waived.