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St. Louis MO Custody and Visitation Law Blog

Moving with your child: How this impacts child custody decrees

After a divorce, a Missouri parent may find that it is necessary to seek a change to a child custody arrangement due to a desired relocation. Personal reasons, financial strains or career-change possibilities may play a role in this decision, but parents may be surprised to find that any change to a child custody decree must go through the proper legal channels. When navigating a complex custody situation, it is best to have assistance from a knowledgeable family law attorney. 

If a Missouri parent has sole or joint custody, there must be ample warning given to the other parent. We work with parents who wish to move and need to follow the proper legal steps, as well as with parents who object to a proposed move. It can be complex to navigate these disagreements, as well as to come to a beneficial conclusion, but we can help. 

Chris Rock divorce heads for child custody battle

Missouri readers have likely heard that Chris Rock, the famous comedian, is currently embroiled in a contentious divorce and child custody battle. Mr. Rock wants shared custody with his wife, to whom he has been married for 19 years. One of the main issues with the child custody battle is the fact that he claims his wife has prevented him from seeing his children. 

Mr. Rock has filed a motion with a family court, asking that he be granted joint physical and legal custody. He claims that he has not been able to see or visit with his 10-year-old or 12-year-old daughter, per the mother's prevention. The mother has recently released a statement through her attorney, denying these claims. 

How can you change a child custody agreement in Missouri?

Once a divorce is final, a child custody agreement determines how and when a child visits with a parent. These agreements are legally binding, and when one parent deviates from the agreement, it can result in tension and further legal complications. Occasionally, circumstances may make it necessary for one parent to seek a modification to a child custody agreement, but it is imperative for an individual to have legal assistance. 

When a modification is needed, Missouri parents may be able to work together on the terms of a new agreement. Whether an agreement will be temporary or permanent, it can be useful to work with a legal professional to negotiate terms. For a major change in a child custody agreement, such as changing which parent gets primary custody, a court order is required. When a modification is possible by agreement, the final agreement for modification must be filed with a court.

Understanding the legal rights of grandparents in Missouri

In certain situations, grandparents may have concerns and questions regarding their legal rights for visitation or custody. In some cases, grandparents may wish to pursue court-ordered visitation with their grandchildren or even seek custody. These cases are complex, making it most beneficial for a grandparent to seek counsel from a legal professional knowledgeable in the legal rights of grandparents in Missouri.

In Missouri, the court will generally defer to the parental preference regarding visitation with the grandparents. Even though the state is considered to be a relatively permissive state, grandparents will face a difficult legal battle if they wish to be granted visitation or custody. Unless certain circumstances exist, the court will show preference to the wishes of the custodial parent. 

Fathers' rights disputes for unmarried couples

Fathers' rights are a complicated legal issue, especially when the mother and father were not married at the time of birth. When one parent disputes paternity, it can create a complex legal firestorm when determining child custody and support. Regardless of the complexity of your situation, our team has the experience needed to successfully handle any fathers' rights issue. 

In some cases, determining paternity is an essential step in determining custody and child support. If you have been requested to pay child support for a child who may not be yours, it is imperative that you seek legal help immediately. An experienced attorney can help protect your interests and assist you with any needed DNA testing. It is important to note that you do not have to dispute the actual biological paternity of a child in order to have a valid paternity concern. Paternity cases also involve Missouri fathers who simply want to have an equal role in a child's life.  

Child custody legislation change affects military parents

Military parents sacrifice many things in order to fulfill their duty to their country, but that does not mean that they have to sacrifice child custody rights when deployed. Recently, a bill was passed prohibiting service members from being stripped of rights while fulfilling military duties. After many years of pushing the bill through various legal channels, military parents are now assured of their child custody rights.

Missouri parents are aware that custody disputes are complex, especially when one parent will be away due to military deployment. These parents should not face a disadvantage because of their service, but rather should be considered equal to the other parent. The recently passed measure is a federal law, which is important to protect parental rights because most states have different custody laws. 

Is it important to establish paternity?

Missouri fathers fighting for child custody are already facing a difficult path, especially when dealing with disputes or concerns over paternity. In these types of complex cases, it is especially important to establish paternity in order to achieve the outcome that is desired. There are many ways that paternity is established, and a father will significantly benefit from the assistance of an attorney experienced in complex family law issues. 

When a child is born to a married couple or to an unmarried couple who sign a paternity acknowledgement form, paternity is assumed. It becomes more difficult when the father is not present at birth or is in contention with the mother. If a father wishes to share custody of a child, but is not on the birth certificate, he may pursue certain options in order to establish his legal rights as a father. 

What you need to know about child support after divorce

Determining and understanding child support obligations is one of the hardest aspects of a divorce. Missouri parents likely have questions regarding the receipt and payment of child support, as well as concerns over how the amount is determined. These concerns and other questions can be answered by a divorce attorney who has a thorough knowledge of Missouri law. 

Once a divorce is final, a parent is not free from his or her financial obligations to a child. In fact, financial support is a legal responsibility that must be met until a child turns 18 or becomes emancipated. The goal of child support is to promote the best interests of the child, as well as to allow the child to live in the same manner as he or she did before the divorce. 

Traditional child custody arrangements are changing

Child custody can be incredibly complex and is one of the hardest aspects of a divorce. Because many couples are not able to work together to come to a suitable custody arrangement, Missouri family courts often have the final say. In many cases, child custody is still determined along traditional lines, but that trend could be changing across the country. 

Traditionally, courts usually grant primary custody to one parent, typically the mother. The other parent is only granted limited visitation as determined by the court. Recently, shared parenting has become more predominant for divorcing couples. It is well known that it is healthy for children to maintain a relationship with both parents after a divorce, which traditional custody arrangements do not necessarily allow. 

Working through visitation issues during the divorce process

Missouri couples going through a divorce understand how emotionally complex the situation may be, especially when facing difficult visitation issues. Parents have many concerns during this difficult process, but some of the most important concerns often regard visitation issues and child custody. Fortunately, these concerns can be alleviated when you have the assistance of an attorney experienced in complex custody ordeals. 

Visitation pertains to parenting time. We understand that you want to spend as much time as possible with your child, and we are committed to protecting the rights of Missouri parents. Through litigation or negotiation, we can help you reach a visitation agreement that protects both your rights and the best interests of your children.