When confronted with a child custody dispute, a Court will always side with the decision which furthers the child’s best interests. This holds true in Child Custody Modifications, divorces, annulments, and paternity suits which ultimately decide child custody and support arrangements.
In certain circumstances, emergency measures must be taken if a parent, guardian, or third party is causing harm, or threatning to cause harm, to a child during a case. It may be appropriate to petition the court for Pendente Lite (Temporary Custody and Support). Sometimes, however, this is not enough. Sometimes a parent, guardian, or third party will take custody of a child against Court order or against another parent or guardian’s wishes. For instance, it is not unheard of that one parent relocates to another State against a custody order. Extraordinary legal measures and relief may need be needed. Habeas Corpus may be the appropriate extraordinary relief.
Habeas Corpus is usually associated with prisoner suits challenging the prisoner’s confinement. Missouri law, though, states that Habeas is available to any person committed, detained, confined or restrained of his liberty, within this state, for any criminal or supposed criminal matter, or under any pretense whatsoever, except when, according to the provisions of [RSMo 532], such person can be neither discharged nor bailed, or otherwise relieved. “Restrained of liberty” is broad enough to include the wrongful detention of a child by a parent, guardian or third party.
If you have any questions about child custody, or the use of habeas corpus, contact us today.