Do my stepkids have a right to see my kids?

Archive of Ask A Lawyer answers provided before April of 2005. Many of these answers can also be found in the current Ask A Lawyer section.

Do my stepkids have a right to see my kids?

Unread postby dadsdivorce » Thu Mar 31, 2005 5:01 pm

I am military and have to be ready for a year long deployment at the drop of a hat. I have 2 great kids with my ex-wife. I am remarried to a woman that already had a child and then we had a child together. My 2 children are attached to my step daughter and my other daughter. My ex wife says she doesn't have to let my kids see either their step sister or half sister. What is Missouri's statute? It cannot be in my childrens best interest to not only have them lose the contact with their father for a year, but their siblings as well just b/c my ex wife hates my new family. Can my wife be granted weekend < parenting time > with the intent of allowing my kids to see our kids?
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Unread postby dadsdivorce » Thu Mar 31, 2005 5:01 pm

There is not provision in Missouri law for stepparent < parenting time >. There are provisions for grandparent < parenting time >, though they are under attack in the courts regularly. If your parents live close to your residence it maybe better to have them file a request. Another possibility not modifying the decree, but just enforcing the current order. For example if you have every other weekend, when your ex-wife denies that time after you deploy, file a Motion for Family Access. This will put the issue before the judge relatively quickly (often in a few weeks) compared to a Motion to Modify that can take months to be heard. Further, Family Access Motions were originally setup to be done without attorneys. However, most Family Access Motions I see now have attorneys on both sides. I agree with your reasoning and I believe the facts support you. However, as mentioned above, the law does not favor you. It is going to depend upon the judge that you are assigned.
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