Child Custody Lawyers in St Louis, Missouri
Issues involving children are some of the most emotional subjects to resolve in any divorce. How these issues are resolved will be a significant factor in your relationship with your children as you go forward. You deserve the services of a lawyer who can provide you professional and compassionate representation. The Behrens Law Firm can help you resolve issues of child custody and support.
How Do Courts Determine Child Custody in Missouri?
Missouri courts make determinations regarding child custody based on what the court believes is in the best interest of the child. Courts do not take into account the parents’ gender, finances, age, or the gender of the child. Under Missouri Law, every child has the right to have a meaningful, continuing bond with both parents.
To determine the best interests of the children, the court will take into account,
Each parent’s wishes and proposed parenting plans,
The children’s needs,
The age of the children,
The need to avoid disrupting the schedule of the children where possible,
The need for the children to go to a good school district,
How the children will maintain contact with both parents,
Each parent’s ability and willingness to meet the children’s needs,
The court may take into account the children’s wishes if they are over 12, but often the wishes of the children will have little impact on a judge’s decision
A parent’s intent to relocate,
Each parent’s willingness to encourage the children’s relationship with the other parent,
Any history of domestic abuse, and
The mental and physical health of each party, if applicable.
the court us usually awards joint physical and legal custody to both parents, along with a parenting plan that outlines when the children will spend time with each parent during the week, on weekdays and over holidays.
If there is a concern about one parent or the parents show that they clearly cannot cooperate, the court may give legal custody to only one parent, meaning that only this parent can make the important decisions of where the child will go to school, what religion they will have, when they can drive a car, what doctors they will see.
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The courts in Missouri rarely award sole physical custody to one parent. This is an extreme measure which is not used unless one parent has a severe problem, is incarcerated, has abandoned the child or has done something else that warrants losing physical custody all together.
Instead, where there is a problem, such as a history of DUI with the child in the car, the court will award joint physical custody but give only supervised visitation with the child to the parent with the problem. In this situation the parent cannot be with the child unless accompanied by an adult approved by the court. If no family member is approved, the court will designate a supervisor, who will typically charge $45 an hour.
For most people, their relationship and time with their children is the most important thing in their life. If there is a hostile fight over the children, you absolutely have to have a good lawyer, one who can protect you and protect your children. Without representation you risk the court seeing a picture which is not true and giving most of the time with your children to their other parent. A good child custody lawyer, in St. Louis, Missouri, or other parts of the state, will review all factors and build a strong case in your favor. If you are fighting for the custody of your children or for visitation rights, the Behrens Law Firm can help. Contact the Behrens Law Firm today, to get strong dedicated help in the fight for your children.