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St. Louis MO Custody and Visitation Law Blog

What happens when a child custody order needs to be changed?

Protecting the best interests of the children and one's parental rights does not stop when a divorce is final. Missouri parents, even after working hard to put emotions aside and draft a beneficial parenting plan and child custody order, may find that changes need to be made. Life goes on after divorce, and sometimes life changes dictate the need for a modification to an existing custody order.

One of the most frequently cited reasons for a modification is remarriage. When one or both parents remarry, it can change the dynamics of a home, and what was once workable and practical may no longer be functional. Children adapt to changes, but sometimes, it is in the best interests of all parties involved to rethink the terms of a visitation and parenting schedule.

We can protect your rights during child custody litigation

The end of a marriage is a stressful time for Missouri parents and their children alike. It is particularly complicated when parents are unable to resolve disputes through discussions, mediation and negotiations, instead facing seemingly inevitable child custody litigation. If you are preparing for a lengthy battle over your parental rights or time with your children, you should know that there is no need to face it alone.

The goal of any family court in Missouri is to protect the best interests of the children, even above the desires of the parents. In litigation, a parent must be prepared to present a strong case for his or her preferred outcome, including evidence, records, witness accounts and any other pertinent documentation. Preparation is key, and building a strong case is more likely with the help of an experienced attorney.

The difference between physical child custody and legal custody

Children whose parents divorce often have periods of adjustment through which they must navigate after a settlement is reached. Many times, Missouri children in families of divorce go from living rather routine, stable lifestyles to circumstances that involve ongoing changes and uncertain plans. Many divorce situations lead to continued legal challenges when parents disagree about matters of child custody, visitation, alimony or other family-related issues.

It is crucial that any parent considering litigation regarding custody matters understand the legal terms pertinent to the issue. For instance, many parents are unaware of the differences between physical and legal custody of children. An experienced family law attorney is typically able to provide ongoing guidance and support.

Child custody has a long-term emotional impact on children

As children often carry a significant and heavy emotional burden during and after their parents' divorce, it is important to provide stability in as many areas as possible. From visitation schedules to the schools that the children will attend, a child custody order should provide stability and a continuity of lifestyle if possible. In order to provide the best, most workable situation for the kids, Missouri parents may find it useful to work together to resolve these complex issues.

The period immediately following a divorce or the announcement of a divorce can be the hardest on the children. Experts agree that even though parents may feel guilty about the situation at hand, they should not accept bad behavior from their children. Setting limits and expectations for behavior may seem counter intuitive during this time of transition, but it is better for the kids long term.

What does Missouri law say about fathers' rights?

Our firm is dedicated to protecting the rights of all parents and finding solutions to some of the most complex family law matters. When it comes to fathers' rights, it takes complete knowledge of Missouri law to fully understand how to help fathers seek rightful visitation and custody. We have the experience and ability to deftly navigate the most complex of paternity and custody cases.

In most cases, biological fathers have the right to visitation or partial custody of their children. Whether it is because the parents were unmarried at the time the child was born or the mother is simply denying the rights of the father, matters can be quite complex if paternity was not established at birth. Asserting one's parental rights may require the assistance of a lawyer who will fight for a father's best interests. 

Helping your child understand child custody arrangements

When navigating the complex process of a divorce, Missouri parents are facing many complicated issues, particularly those involving the children. When walking through this process, it can be beneficial to remember that the children often benefit when parents are committed to working together and disrupting the lives and routines of the children as little as possible. When parents are able, they may even consider working on a child custody agreement that reflects the unique needs of their family. 

Despite the complex issues that may exist between the parents, it is possible for both parties to contribute, working toward the common goal of protecting the best interests of the children. Parents should also strive to be as straightforward as possible with the kids, informing them of what lies ahead in the coming weeks and months. One of the most common concerns voiced by children during a divorce regards where they will live and how often they will spend time with the non-custodial parent.

How you can obtain a modification to child support orders

Life after divorce is complicated, as Missouri parents know. From job changes, remarriage, new medical needs and other unexpected changes, financial circumstances can change quickly, impacting a person's ability to meet his or her financial obligations. If you find yourself unable to meet the terms of existing child support orders, you have the right to seek a modification. 

Child support is designed and designated for the protection of the children. It is intended to maintain a continuity of lifestyle for the youngest members of a divorcing family. Despite the best intentions of the family court or the parents, it is often difficult to sustain these orders in the long run. Instead of a verbal agreement between parents or simply declining to make payments, a parent should seek to rectify this issue through the proper legal channels. 

Navigating child custody matters toward a strong future

For Missouri readers who are going through a divorce, it is no secret that child issues pertaining to children are some of the most contested and acrimonious of the end of a marriage. Child custody issues, while it may be difficult for parents, should be resolved in a manner that is focused on stability in the future, not short-term circumstances. Providing children with a stable, beneficial post-divorce routine starts with a thoughtful custody order. 

Co-parenting is a concept that is growing in popularity, but for some parents, it is not a sustainable arrangement. While parents are almost always committed to the well-being of their children, emotional and practical issues can surface, damaging what could be a beneficial working custody arrangement. Co-parenting is possible, but it is vital to have a custody arrangement that provides the foundation for this type of parenting plan.

Do not let emotions impact a child custody dispute

Issues pertaining to children and child custody can bring out strong emotions for all parties involved. Missouri parents who are already navigating or facing a divorce know that this is normal, but they should be particularly vigilant to prevent emotions from having a negative impact on a child custody dispute. A parent should never make a negative impression on a judge because he or she cannot effectively manage emotions and words. 

Judges are supposed to be neutral parties, but they are people who want to be treated with respect and regard. They also want the same of their staffers. When parents can act maturely and show a willingness to work cooperatively, it could be beneficial for the parent's case. 

Do you understand how child support works? We can help.

Any issue that pertains to financial matters can be a hotly contested issue during a divorce. Child support is also a commonly disputed matter as one person believes that he or she should receive a certain amount while the other party disagrees. No matter what side of the issue you are on, a close understanding of how child support is calculated and distributed may help Missouri couples avoid necessary conflicts.

After a divorce, both parents have an obligation to financially support their children. The parent who has primary custody may be awarded support payments in order to provide the children with a lifestyle similar to that which they enjoyed before the end of the marriage. The amount is based on a calculation that considers the income of the parents, custody arrangements, special needs and other factors.