Know Your Legal Options For Your Child Custody
If you have legal concerns about Missouri child custody or Missouri custody laws, a Child Custody Attorney in Sunset Hills, Missouri, can help. You should get familiar with your state’s child custody laws if you’re dealing with a divorce or legal separation of children.
Whether you are considering filing for child custody or are currently involved in a child custody battle due to a divorce or legal separation, the first step is to educate yourself on Missouri’s child custody laws. But, if you ever find yourself involved in a child custody case, you should seek the legal counsel of a reputable family law firm like Doyel Law.
Seeking child custody arrangements that protect the parent-child relationship is a top priority for our Child Custody Attorney in Sunset Hills, Missouri. We work hard to obtain outcomes that our clients — and their children — can live with, and we assist them in making wise decisions that aid courts in ruling in their favor.
Get in touch with our Missouri law firm right away and get quality legal help for your child custody issues.
Why Do I Need a Child Custody Attorney in Missouri?
It might be frightening to think about having to fight for the right to be with your children, but having a skilled child custody attorney in Sunset Hills, Missouri at your side can make all the difference. Our Missouri family law attorneys at Doyel Law have extensive knowledge of custody cases and are well-versed in family law.
In many cases, parents can negotiate a custody agreement outside of court by working together with the children’s best interests in mind. Nonetheless, there are situations when one parent’s viewpoint on what is most beneficial to the children differs greatly from that of the other.
It’s extremely likely that you won’t need a lawyer if you can sit down with the other parent of your child and work out the specifics of physical and legal custody, visitation, and child support. If not, you might need one.
Contact our Child Custody Attorney in Sunset Hills, Missouri by phone or use the chat box at the bottom right of our homepage website.
What Are Child Custody Options in Missouri?
In Missouri, there are a number of standard custody options founded on the concepts of “legal custody” and “physical custody.”
What is Legal Custody?
Whoever has the power to make decisions for the child or children is said to have legal custody. Either the court grants one parent sole legal custody, or the parties might have joint legal custody. However, there are many exceptions, such as when one parent has a history of domestic violence, substance abuse, or other behaviors that make them unable to participate in decision-making for the children.
What is Physical Custody?
Who the child lives with is referred to as having physical custody. Parents may have joint physical custody, much like they do with legal custody, or the court may grant sole physical custody to one parent. Physical custody will typically be shared by two people who have equal or nearly equal timesharing with the child or children.
Courts often award one parent with the majority of timeshare sole physical custody. Physical custody doesn’t carry the same weight as legal custody, but it might be helpful in selecting a school because the child’s home will determine which school district is applicable.
If one parent wants to live further apart from the other, physical custody is also important. When determining whether a move-away is appropriate or not, the court typically sides more with the parent who has sole physical custody if that parent wishes to do so.
Legal custody and physical custody can be divided into “joint” custody and “sole” custody, as was briefly mentioned.
What is Joint Custody?
Under joint legal custody, both parents share the responsibility for and authority over decisions affecting the child’s welfare, education, and general well-being. This means that the parents must consult one another when making choices on a particular topic unless the court grants one parent exclusive decision-making privileges.
Joint physical custody, on the other hand, indicates that the child spends significant (but not necessarily equal) amounts of time with each parent.
What is Sole Custody?
The term “sole legal custody” defines a custody arrangement in which only one parent has the authority to make decisions regarding the child’s care, education, and general well-being.
A child who has sole physical custody would live with that parent. The non-custodial parent may be granted certain visitation privileges in cases of sole physical custody, which would be outlined in the court order.
What is a Third-Party Custody?
Third-party custody is when a person other than the parents has both physical and legal custody of the child or children. If it is in the best interests of the child, the court may grant this type of custody.
The relationship and interaction between the child and parents, the child’s adjustment to the new home, the child’s need for frequent, ongoing, and meaningful contact with both parents, as well as their willingness and ability to fulfill their roles as parents, may all be taken into account by the court when deciding on this type of custody arrangement.
Both parents may be deemed unable or unsuitable to be custodians of their child or children if their mental and physical condition is judged to be unsatisfactory. This custody arrangement can move forward if the third party proves that the welfare of the children or a particular child necessitates that they are raised in an “adequate and stable environment” by someone who is appropriate to do so.
Who Decides Custody?
Courts will give any agreements that parents make about child custody a lot of weight, as is the case with most family law issues. The judge will probably turn a fair and proper custody arrangement into a court order if the parents can cooperate to reach one. The best way for parents to have an influence on their children’s future after a divorce or separation is to work together.
Most states require judges to conduct investigations and consider particular factors when making custody decisions. Even if one parent objects, the judge’s decision regarding child custody is final and enforceable by both parents.
How is Child Custody Decided in Missouri?
Child custody laws in the United States all adhere to the “best interests of the child” standard, despite some slight differences. This means that the court must prioritize what is in the best interest of the children involved.
The judge will start each case presuming that the child or children would benefit from “frequent, continuing and meaningful contact with both parents” and from having both parents “participate in decisions affecting the health, education, and welfare of their children,” according to (Mo. Rev. Stat. 452.375.4). There are many different factors that go into determining the best situation for the child. These factors comprise of but are not limited to:
- The need for each parent to be connected to their child on an emotional level
- The child’s own wishes (they may vary from his/her best interests, yet they’ll be taken into account by the judge)
- Relocation plans
- Individual parenting plans and wishes for each parent’s child or children
- The child’s financial resources and needs
- The parent’s willingness to support their child’s growth in positive relationships with both parents
- The well-being of each party’s mental and physical health
- History of neglect or abuse
- Any history of parental abuse of alcohol or drugs
- The need for a stable home environment
The judge will consider a variety of factors in every child custody case in an effort to reach a conclusion that will eventually result in the child’s safety and happiness.
Furthermore, when filing for divorce in Missouri, parents must present a proposed parenting plan to the court. The judge, both parents and this plan will work together to develop a schedule that works for everyone. Parenting plans can be changed as needed as children become older, parents relocate, or other circumstances occur. Some programs will give a length of time during which the proposal may be changed as well as a method for settling any disputes that may arise.
What is the Process for Getting a Custody Plan?
Each court has its own requirements for handling custody cases. A litigant may lose their case if the required documents are not filed on time or if the court misses deadlines. Consequently, if necessary, hiring legal help to represent you is crucial. The majority of custody cases, however, often include the following parts:
- The filing of a petition marks the beginning of a custody case;
- “Petitioner” is the term used to describe the party who files the petition.
- The “Respondent,” the opposing party, then serves the Petition personally.
- An answer to the petition must be filed by the Respondent within 30 days;
- The court may approve the petitioner’s petitions without the Respondent having to respond if they do not do so within 30 days.
- Allowing the respondent to present evidence; and
- The parties may set hearings for temporary custody and child support orders after the Petition and the Answer are filed to have a plan in place while the case is still active.
The court may require the parties to file additional documents throughout the course of the case, including an Income and Expense Statement, a Property and Debt Statement, and a Child Support Calculation Worksheet. Also, the court may order the parties to take a parental education course.
How to Modify a Custody Arrangement?
While deciding custody cases, judges in almost every state place the child’s stability as one of their top priorities. It may be difficult for parents to change present custody orders due to this strong preference to keep things as they are, but it is not impossible. Judges are aware that changing family circumstances may require updating the current orders.
To modify custody or visitation, most states mandate the requesting parent to demonstrate that there has been a substantial change in circumstances. The parent must additionally demonstrate that the current order no longer serves the child’s interests. If the court decides to review the case, the judge will review the changing circumstances in light of the best interest standards.
Call our Child Custody Attorney in Sunset Hills, Missouri Now!
Everyone involved suffers emotionally and financially during a child custody case. Doyel Law wants to make sure you have the chance to choose the best course of action to ensure that everyone, especially your children, has the brightest future imaginable.
The biggest problems and ones that cause the most sorrow, even in the most amicable custody arrangements, are typically those involving children. Our Child Custody Attorney in Sunset Hills, Missouri wants to make sure that you feel at ease engaging us to protect your most prized asset, your children.
Get in touch with Doyel Law right away to discuss your situation with our legal team and choose the most appropriate action to take.