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St. Louis MO Custody and Visitation Law Blog

Fathers' rights in Missouri

The fathers' rights movement is relatively new and was born out of the desire of fathers to have a more prominent role in the lives of their children. Fathers' rights cases are a rather complex area of law, but Missouri dads can greatly benefit from understanding what entitlements are granted to them under state law. Fathers have rights even if they were never married to the mother of the child. 

Unmarried parents have the same legal rights as parents who were married at the time their child was born. Fathers cannot be denied their rightful visitation or custody share simply because the other parent does not want to cooperate. At that point, it would be well within the rights of the father to seek a legal resolution to the situation in a Missouri family court.

Technology and the future of child support

Missouri parents know that disagreements over child support can be one of the most troubling aspects of divorce. It is already challenging to divide assets, separate lives and determine child custody, and support disputes can lengthen the process and add undue stress. New technology has recently become available that is intended to reduce these disputes and help parents avoid future legal conflicts over child support.

A woman has developed an application that allows parents to exchange child-related information through a neutral third-party. This will hopefully prevent arguments over court-ordered child support payments and allow parents to easily share expenses for miscellaneous costs, such as child care. The application facilitates payments between parents, and it even allows users to track shared expenses, receipts and payments. 

Seeking a less stressful divorce and child custody arrangement

Divorce tends to bring out long-buried issues, even between the most amicable and cooperative of couples. While there is no such thing as a perfect divorce, Missouri couples can strive to have less stress and complications during the process. There are several specific steps that can be taken to minimize confrontation and unnecessary conflict in child custody discussions.

One thing that can be useful is to maintain communication with the separated partner through email. Speaking face-to-face can allow tension and emotions to rise to the surface, making it hard to effectively discuss certain issues. It can be less stressful to communicate only electronically or through individual legal counsel. 

Child support in Missouri and your rights

As Missouri parents know, it is often complex to navigate the financial issues that must be addressed during a divorce. One of these issues is determining the amount of child support that is owed to the custodial parent. While both parents technically have an obligation to financially support the children, one parent could be ordered to pay a certain amount per month for the needs of the kids. 

Parents who are ordered to pay child support should understand how these amounts are calculated in Missouri. Conversely, the parent who will be receiving these payments should also know how much they are owed every month. The main factor considered when calculating support is the income of both parents, but other factors are taken into account as well. 

Is one type of child custody arrangement better than another?

Missouri parents know that divorce will have an impact on their children, even if both parties are amicable and committed to working through issues together. Parents often struggle with determining which child custody arrangement may be best for their children, wondering if one arrangement is better than another. A new study suggests that joint custody may be ideal for young children. 

After parents separate, even before a divorce is final, children can be impacted by temporary living arrangements. A new study found that children who spend time or live with both parents tend to display fewer problems than those who only live with one. Children who lived in a joint custody situation had fewer headaches, stomach problems, less trouble concentrating and displayed fewer physical symptoms related to psychosomatic issues. 

Famous athlete in legal trouble for failing to pay child support

The ex-wife of the famous Harlem Globetrotters basketball player, Meadowlark Lemon, has filed a lawsuit against him, alleging that he failed to pay child support. Missouri readers may be interested to know that the basketball player is 83 years old, and the son which he reportedly failed to financially support is now 48. The son and his mother are seeking $250,000 in missed child support payments.

Meadowlark Lemon and his ex-wife divorced in 1977. She claims that he left her with overwhelming debt and meager financial means. The lawsuit states that the basketball star never complied with the original terms of their divorce, but it is not clear what those terms required. The son claims that the mother's post-divorce financial troubles are to blame for a series of misfortunes in his own life. 

Child custody fight pits parents against the state

In most Missouri custody fights, the parties include two parents who have decided to divorce and are at odds over the care and custody of their shared children. However, cases come before family courts in Missouri and elsewhere that do not follow this predictable pattern. An example lies in an unusual child custody case that has sparked a great deal of debate across the nation.

The case centers on a 19-month-old child who is failing to develop at a normal rate. The child's parents have taken their son to a number of doctors to try and determine the cause of the problem, but no diagnosis has been reached thus far other than a failure to thrive. Despite the family's concerns over the matter, the state in which they reside made the decision to remove the child from their care, alleging that he is the victim of medical neglect.

Divorce issues and how they may impact child custody

Missouri residents who are facing a potentially long and complex divorce may be wondering if it is possible to avoid costly litigation. Divorcing couples may find it useful to consider what factors led to their divorce, which may foster better communication between parties. A willingness to communicate and negotiate may help couples keep child custody and property division matters out of court.

Certain predictors may actually indicate if a couple is more likely to divorce. Younger couples with less education have a higher divorce rate, as do couples who have shorter engagements. Rushing to marriage may prevent a couple from taking protective steps, such as drafting prenuptial agreements and working through issues that can complicate a marriage. It is also said that couples with children from previous relationships have a higher divorce rate, perhaps as high as 60 percent. 

Visitation issues: resolving disputes between spouses

The decisions that are made during a divorce will impact a family for years, even decades, to come. Children are emotionally affected by their parents' divorce, even if the two parties are amicable and willing to work together to resolve custody and visitation issues. Since the best interests of the children are most important, parents may find it beneficial to work with a lawyer who understands the sensitive nature of custody arrangements.

A custody arrangement should reflect both parental rights and the needs of the children. Visitation schedules should allow the children adequate time with both parents as this can be beneficial for their emotional well being. If Missouri parents cannot reach a satisfactory arrangement outside of court, litigation may be the only way to reach a resolution.

Do grandparents have legal rights to custody in Missouri?

After parents divorce, it can change the dynamic of the entire family, affecting grandparents and other family members. In particularly complex situations, grandparents could be denied visitation with their grandchildren, even if there is no reason for preventing contact. When complicated family situations arise, it is useful to understand the legal rights of grandparents in Missouri.

The laws of the state of Missouri may provide visitation rights to grandparents in very specific circumstances. Grandparents may be granted visitation if the parents have divorced. A court may also be sympathetic to grandparents if one parent is deceased and the other parent is denying visitation. If parents deny visitation for more than 90 days, grandparents may seek a legal remedy to the situation. 

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