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St. Louis MO Custody and Visitation Law Blog

Child custody and the season of divorce

As Missouri readers know, there are certain times of the year when divorce filings peak, often just after the holidays. Recently released research seems to suggest that divorce filings not only spike after the holiday season is complete but also after a time of year when many people go on vacation. It is important for families to consider how the season in which a divorce takes place could impact child custody arrangements.

People often wait to file for divorce after the holidays are over. This is frequently motivated out of concern for other family members, namely the children, easing the difficulty of an already stressful and busy season. Data proves that this is the case for the summer as well, with many couples choosing to take one last family vacation. With many Americans traveling in the month of July, the month of August sees an up tick in divorce.

Child custody and the mental and emotional health of kids

A divorce can have a major impact on children, and protecting the well being of the youngest members of the family is often the main concern of most Missouri families. It is important to be attuned to the emotional and mental needs of the children during and after a divorce. While these are serious concerns, parents can be encouraged to know that there are things that they can do to help their children adjust to new child custody arrangements.

Children often feel discouraged by the sudden change in their homes when they must move or one parent makes separate living arrangements. This can greatly disturb their routine, and even the news of an impending divorce can result in behavioral changes and mood swings, depending on the age of the child. Studies show that it can take years for children to completely adjust to a divorce, but it can help significantly when they are allowed to maintain a strong relationship with both parents.

Establishing paternity in Missouri: Why and how?

There are numerous reasons at to why establishing parentage is important to parents in Missouri. Establishing paternity is typical done for custodial or monetary reasons. Mothers often request paternity testing in order to seek child support, while potential fathers may wish to submit to testing in order to gain custody or visitation rights.

The state of Missouri believes that every child should be able to have relationships with both of his or her parents and that parents who desire relationships with their children should be given the opportunity. Unfortunately, if paternity is not established, this does not always happen. What does one have to do to legally establish paternity?

We can help you protect your visitation rights

When an unmarried couple or divorcing couple cannot agree on parenting time or custody, these disagreements can continue to plague a Missouri family long after the case has been closed or the divorce is final. Despite custody and visitation orders drafted between the two parents, it may be necessary to take definitive steps to protect your visitation rights. We know that child custody and visitation can be complicated, and we can help you understand your options.

Despite the best of intentions to protect a child from the disagreements between two parents, one parent may refuse to cooperate with the terms of a custody order. This may mean he or she denies your rightful visitation time, denying you access with your children. Children benefit when they can maintain a strong relationship with both parents, and it is important to protect their well being by ensuring that you have regular visitation time, even if you do not have custody.

New laws could impact child custody arrangements

The governor of Missouri has recently signed a bill into law that could impact parents and their parenting time after divorce. This new law could equalize how child custody is determined in a divorce and may be a step in the right direction toward equalizing custody rights between fathers and mothers. This new law would require that custody arrangements be based on the best interests of the child, not the gender of the parent.

In the past, custody was often automatically awarded to the mother. Mothers will no longer receive preferential treatment in court, but will be on equal footing with the father. Experts and research studies agree that children benefit when they can maintain a strong relationship with both parents after a divorce. It is hoped that these new laws will promote arrangements that are sustainable and beneficial.

Details of new child custody laws in Missouri

With the recent passage of a new law in Missouri, parents may now have a better chance of securing equal parenting after a divorce. The child custody law, which has been signed by the governor, is said to bring comprehensive change to the way that courts determine child custody, only giving sole custody to one parent in rare circumstances. Lawmakers have applauded this passage, stating that the results will benefit both children and parents.

The law is designed to promote equal child custody between divorced parents. Studies have long shown that children benefit when they have regular access to both parents after a divorce. Equal or shared custody can provide a certain continuity of lifestyle that could help children navigate this time of transition.

Need to collect unpaid child support? We can help.

When parents divorce or seek to legally establish custody and support orders, it is critical that these arrangements protect the best interests of the children. Additionally, it is also important that parents are faithful to adhere to the terms outlined by the court and refrain from handling disputes without the help of a lawyer. When child support orders are neglected, it is the children who suffer. 

Fortunately, there are legal options for Missouri parents who are waiting for unpaid child support. Although it may seem like a hopeless situation, a parent can be held to account for failing to perform his or her financial obligations to his or her child. If a parent cannot maintain payments, a court modification should be sought through the proper channels.

Options for divorce and child custody

When a Missouri parent is considering divorce, there are various options available regarding the type of divorce that is best for the individual situation. As the divorce rate continues to hold at about 50 percent, it can be useful for all readers to understand the types of divorce. The type of divorce will determine how important factors are decided, such as child custody and property division.

An uncontested divorce is an option for a couple who agrees on all important issues, such as child custody and division of marital property. This agreement can be reached after discussions and negotiation, and this option could save a couple a significant amount of money by avoiding litigation. With the option of mediation, a couple employs the services of a mediation attorney to resolve disputes that exist between the two parties.

Social media may have a negative effect on child custody cases

Social media has become a natural part of life for most people. We use it to blow off steam when our jobs get stressful, brag about our successes and sometimes share intimate details of our lives that we might not reveal if we were face to face. When people in Missouri are going through divorce proceedings and/or child custody litigation, however, some attorneys suggest they keep it all to themselves. Using social media to reveal personal details may negatively impact the case's outcome.

Since social media may be used for evidence in a divorce proceeding, it is not advisable to delete one's accounts. It may be wise to simply avoid using them for a while since one's spouse and his or her attorney may be monitoring such sites for evidence. Some of that evidence may include posts about lavish vacations or purchases that contradict any statements one has made regarding finances. They may also look for evidence of infidelity or changes in employment that may affect a judge's decisions.

Is it possible to share child custody without conflict?

As Missouri parents know, divorce can be hardest on the youngest members of the family. Parents strive to shield their children from unnecessary conflict, but they may fear that it will be impossible to co-parent after the divorce is final. They may be encouraged to know that, despite complicated emotional issues between them, it is possible to effectively and peacefully share child custody.

At the heart of every peaceful post-divorce arrangement is a strategic, thoughtful, carefully drafted child custody order. It should be put together in a way that addresses every pertinent concern, including medical issues, any special needs and a comprehensive visitation schedule. Unique needs and factors should be considered, and a parent may work with his or her lawyer to negotiate these terms during the divorce.

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