Helping people through divorce, custody, child support and visitation issues with experience and care.
We commonly deal with the following issues:
- Child Custody
- Child Support
- Name Change
We offer cost-effective representation with a personal touch made possible with experience and highly efficient use of time and resources.
Frequently Asked Questions and Concerns
Regarding Child Support
My child support payment doesn’t leave me enough to pay my own bills!
One of the ugly truths about divorce is that suddenly the parties’ combined marital income must support two separate households. The Court’s focus is in the best interests of any children born of the marriage, with the goal to minimize the disruption in their lives to the extent possible. Since the children sit as innocent witnesses
to the separation of their parents, their best interests require the Court to maintain as much stability in the children’s lives as possible. This includes economic stability.
Does the Judge take my own living expenses into consideration before figuring how much child support to order?
The Missouri state legislature has created a calculation to determine the Presumed Amount of Child Support given the particular circumstances of each individual case. The presumed amount is based upon the gross incomes of both parties. If it were otherwise, you can probably imagine a situation where a parent would complain: “you’re not leaving me enough for my own rent and truck payment!” The calculation presumes that the kids’ needs come first. The parties, being adults, can make their own decisions, plan and build their own futures, and control their own expenses. The children, on the other hand, are entirely reliant upon the resources of their two parents for their very survival!
What determines my chances for winning custody?
Section 452.375 of the Revised Statutes of Missouri sets out 8 factors the Court must consider in its custody decisions. These are:
(1) The wishes of the child’s parents as to custody and the proposed parenting plan submitted by both parties;
(2) The needs of the child for a frequent, continuing and meaningful relationship with both parents and the ability and willingness of parents to actively perform their functions as mother and father for the needs of the child;
(3) The interaction and interrelationship of the child with parents, siblings, and any other person who may significantly affect the child’s best interests;
(4) Which parent is more likely to allow the child frequent, continuing and meaningful contact with the other parent;
(5) The child’s adjustment to the child’s home, school, and community;
(6) The mental and physical health of all individuals involved, including any history of abuse of any individuals involved. If the court finds that a pattern of domestic violence as defined in section 455.010 has occurred, and, if the court also finds that awarding custody to the abusive parent is in the best interest of the child, then the court shall enter written findings of fact and conclusions of law. Custody and visitation rights shall be ordered in a manner that best protects the child and any other child or children for whom the parent has custodial or visitation rights, and the parent or other family or household member who is the victim of domestic violence from any further harm;
(7) The intention of either parent to relocate the principal residence of the child; and
(8) The wishes of a child as to the child’s custodian. The fact that a parent sends his or her child or children to a home school, as defined in section 167.031, shall not be the sole factor that a court considers in determining custody of such child or children.
What does the judge look at to determine my child’s best interests?
The Missouri Supreme Court mandate that judges render decisions which are based upon the best interests of the children involved insures that your judge will be focused mainly on that one thing – and so should you. Your child’s other parent was likely the love of your life at one point, and is and will be forever, along with you, the love of your child’s life. You would never want to see your child suffer, right? Believe me, your child will suffer if your aim is to see your “ex” suffer. The best advice in custody disputes is to keep your focus on the best interests of your children. If you do, there will be no loser.
More and more, grandparents are becoming their grandchildren’s Guardians. This can become necessary for a variety of reasons. We have helped many families through this legal process. Sometimes, both natural parents consent to the Guardianship. Often, one or both of the natural parents object. In these cases the Court must determine that the Guardianship is necessary because the natural parents are unfit, unwilling, or unable to act as the child’s guardian.
Guardianship is not permanent, and can be terminated once it is no longer necessary for the protection or welfare of the children.
Jackson Country, Missouri
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