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St. Louis MO Custody and Visitation Law Blog

A child custody agreement that works for the whole family

When a couple files for divorce, they will have to resolve many difficult issues, including custody of the children and visitation. While these issues are important and parents may have strong feelings about their preferred outcome, it is still possible to navigate a divorce in a way that allows parents to remain partners for the sake of the children. When Missouri parents are committed to cooperation for the sake of their children, it is possible to find a child custody arrangement that works for everyone. 

Before a no-fault divorce was an option, couples often had to stay in unhappy marriages if no moral or legal grounds for divorce existed. Presently, more legal options exist for those who are choosing to end a marriage. In fact, more and more couples are choosing to move away from the typical contentious, stressful divorce, instead choosing to resolve issues in a practical manner.

Father loses child custody over use of medical marijuana

Missouri readers will take note of an interesting case involving a former U.S. veteran and this current custody battle. Just recently, this father and his wife lost child custody of five of their children due to use of medical marijuana for treatment of his PTSD and chronic pain. He currently has a prescription for medical cannabis in a state where it is legal and was preparing to move to that state when the kids were taken. 

This mother and father had resided in a state where the use of medical marijuana is not legal. The children were taken into protective services because it was reported that they were endangered and at risk of exposure or consumption of cannabis. At the time, the family was preparing to move to a state, and have since done so, where medical marijuana is legal in order to use it freely and grow it for other veterans.

Divorcing in January and how it could impact support arrangements

As Missouri readers know, it is not uncommon for couples to seek a divorce in January. For many reasons, couples facing the end of a marriage defer action over the holiday season, perhaps to spare the family emotional duress during an important time of year. As January filings typically increase after the first of the year, it is wise to acknowledge how the timing could impact support arrangements and other financial matters.

By January, the end-of-year income total will be available. When a person is seeking spousal support, or objecting to it, the income amounts will be critical to the court's decision. In the same manner, child support arrangements will be based on the needs of the children, as well as the financial capability of the parents. There is a very good chance that a parent's year-end income total will have an impact on a spousal or child support order.

A child custody order impacts a kid's mental health

Missouri parents know that child custody will have a far-reaching impact on a child's life. Research indicates that divorce can affect a child's mental health and well-being, making it important to shield a child from conflict and stressful situations as much as possible. With the right effort, a new child custody arrangement does not have to be the source of undue stress or anxiety of the kids.

As expected, children may face emotional difficulty when their parents divorce. Even when one of the parents moves out, studies show that these symptoms begin to subside as everyone adjusts to new living arrangements. However, parents should be extra vigilant to ensure that a child custody arrangement does not have a long-term psychological impact. Children may need therapy or other forms of support during this time of transition.

You can secure modifications to a child support order

Divorce brings many changes to a Missouri family. From living arrangements to finances, the end of a marriage marks the beginning of many significant adjustments. The arrangements that are carefully discussed and negotiated during divorce proceedings may be beneficial for awhile, but certain things, such as a child support order, may not always reflect the true needs or circumstances of a parent. 

In Missouri, it is possible for a parent to secure a modification to a child support order in certain circumstances. These changes can only be approved by the court. Even if parents are in agreement about a change in financial arrangements, everything should go through the proper legal channels. When a parent needs to seek a modification in response to significant financial changes, it is best to seek professional assistance.

Understanding the types of child custody arrangements

Missouri parents naturally wish to protect the emotional and physical needs of their children during and after a divorce. One of the main ways of doing so is by determining a child custody arrangement that is suited to the needs of the children and the dynamics of the individual family. When custody arrangements cannot be agreed upon by the parents, the court will determine an arrangement that is considered to be in the best interests of the children.

The three main categories of child custody include sole custody, joint custody and joint physical custody. Custody is considered both a parental right and duty and encompasses the right to make decisions about education, medical care and religious training for the children. Sole custody is where one parent is granted primary care of the child and the authority to make these important decisions without input from the other parent.

Frozen embryos and parental rights at the center of dispute

A Missouri woman is fighting for the right to implant embryos created and frozen before she and her husband divorced. This cases raises interesting questions regarding parental rights and the fate of embryos after a couple divorces or chooses not to use them. A judge denied the woman permission to implant the embryos, but she intends to continue to fight for her desired outcome. 

Before divorcing in 2014, the couple had two children through in vitro fertilization. Apparently, the couple jointly own the embryos, but the husband does not want to have any more children with his former spouse, stating that they had an extremely difficult divorce. The couple did sign an agreement with the storage facility stating that in case of divorce, the woman would get to keep the embryos.

Child support and other issues for single mothers after divorce

As Missouri readers know, divorce can leave a person with financial burdens and uncertainty about the future. This is especially true for single mothers, who often face difficulties after the divorce is final. This is why it is particularly important for any single mother to fully understand her right to receive child support and other applicable financial assistance during this process. 

The financial aspects of a divorce order will have an impact that lasts for years. Child support may be granted to mothers who have primary custody of children, and this amount is based on many individual factors such as the income of the parents and the unique needs of the children. In addition to child support, alimony could be granted to a mother if certain circumstances are met.

How social media can impact a child custody order

Social media has impacted almost every area of life, and Missouri readers will not be surprised to learn that it can also affect their divorce. In fact, social media can have a direct impact on a child custody order or other aspects of the divorce proceedings. Parents should always practice caution when posting about their children, particularly during divorce. 

Before posting to a social media site, a parent should carefully consider how a post could impact their case if it was printed off and used as evidence against them. It is possible, particularly during an acrimonious divorce, that pictures and statements on Facebook or Twitter could be used to bolster the case that a particular parent is unfit. This applies to negative statements regarding a former spouse, the family court judge or even details of the litigation process. 

Take steps to protect your parental rights after divorce

Missouri parents know that divorce will have a permanent impact on a family's dynamics. Despite the financial and emotional consequences of the end of a marriage, a parent has the right to pursue the exercise of his or her parental rights. In fact, it is possible to make decisions to protect these entitlements. 

Child custody is often one of the most contested issues in a divorce. Parents are often frustrated by the arrangements proposed, especially if they submit those unresolved issues to a court. The courts main concern is to protect the best interests of the children, which is based on many factors. The court, as well-intentioned as it may be, does not know your children like you do. That is why a custody agreement drafted between the two parents is often the best way to maintain control of the situation and maintain access to your children. 

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