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St. Louis MO Custody and Visitation Law Blog

Sherri Shepherd must continue to pay child support

Sherri Shepherd has lost her legal battle in which she was trying to have her name removed from her child's birth certificate. This move comes as part of a long battle over child support between the Shepherd and her ex-husband, who is raising the child. Missouri readers may have read about this extensive, highly publicized legal battle.

Shepherd's 1-year-old son was born via surrogacy. The child was conceived using a donor egg, but the couple decided to end their marriage a few months into the surrogate's pregnancy. What has followed has a been a complicated legal battle over parental rights, child support and the complex legal matters that accompany surrogacy.

How you can change a child support or custody order

Over time, the terms of a divorce order may no longer match a person's needs or financial capabilities. When circumstances change, it is important for a Missouri parent to take steps to modify an order so that further complications can be avoided. If you believe that you could benefit from a modification to a spousal or child support order, find out how you can begin this process. 

There are many circumstances that may merit a change in a support order. This includes the loss of a job, remarriage or the changing needs of a child. Custody orders may be modified if there is concern over the well being of the child, one parent wishes to move out of state or special circumstances have recently come to light. Parents should note that either parent can seek a modification in order to accommodate their circumstances or concerns. 

Child custody a focus of Halle Berry's divorce

Child custody is often one of the major areas of contention during a divorce in Missouri and other states. A child custody battle can have a long-lasting emotional impact not only on the two parents involved but also on the child. One high-profile individual, actress Halle Berry, is currently going through a divorce involving child custody.

Berry and her husband, Olivier Martinez, recently announced they would be splitting up and filed divorce petitions. They share a toddler son, Maceo, who is 2 years old. The pair, however, reportedly do not want to have a sour custody battle over him.

Anger and child custody: how to separate the two

Many people going through a divorce often deal with serious emotions, including anger. Parents who are battling over suitable child custody arrangements may have trouble putting aside personal feelings in order to reach an agreement, but it is best for the children when parents can leave anger out of their discussions. Anger can lead to misguided decisions that are not actually in the best interests of the parents or kids. 

It is particularly difficult to put anger aside when a person feels wronged by his or her spouse for various reasons. While it is normal to feel upset by unfair circumstances, children will ultimately suffer if their parents use divorce as a weapon to harm the other parent. Missouri readers facing a divorce will find that it is easier to prevent harmful emotions from clouding their judgement when they have a strong legal ally to advocate for their needs. 

Seeking a child custody agreement that is best for the children

Divorce impacts children, even when parents are committed to finding an amicable resolution to custody and support disputes. One way that Missouri parents can minimize the impact that the ends of their marriages will have on their children is to commit to co-parenting. Co-parenting, while not the ideal child custody arrangement for every family, has been found to greatly benefit children and minimize the negative impact of a divorce.

Co-parenting allows for the children to maintain strong and active relationships with both parents. This partnership will require that parents work cooperatively together after the divorce is final on everything from discipline to schedules. This is not always easy, especially for ex-spouses with a significant amount of hurt between them, but the needs and best interests of the kids should always be the main priority.

Child custody disputes and the emotional needs of the children

A divorce is often hardest for the children, who sometimes carry the scars of a contentious divorce for the rest of their lives. Missouri parents who have decided to go their separate ways always want to protect their children as much as possible throughout the process, but they are often unsure of how to do so. In order to help parents make practical and beneficial decisions regarding child custody, the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) has released a guideline that can be used as a resource for divorcing parents.

Parents are often unsure of how to negotiate a parenting agreement that addresses their needs and the dynamics of their family. Children may have special needs that must be considered, but parental rights should be also be protected. These guidelines come with suggested schedules and helpful guidelines regarding the importance of communication between parents after a divorce.

Fathers may assert their rights by establishing paternity

When a child is born to unmarried parents, it is not uncommon for fathers to have a difficult time asserting their rights as a biological parent. When unmarried parents have disputes regarding support and visitation, it may become necessary to establish paternity in order to obtain rightful parenting time. If fathers' rights are on the line, it is wise to seek the assistance of a lawyer who is experienced in complex family law matters.

Missouri readers will note that unmarried parents have rights the same as married parents. This means that the custodial parent has the right to seek financial support and the non custodial parent has the right to seek visitation time. A paternity action may be necessary to legally establish a visitation and support order, even if both parents are in agreement regarding the biological father of the child. 

The benefits of hiring an attorney for a child custody dispute

Missouri parents know that child custody is often one of the most emotional and contentious aspects of a divorce. Even amicable couples often find themselves facing an impasse when it comes to agreeing on the terms of practical and beneficial child custody resolutions. For this reason, it is generally in the best interests of the parents to have the assistance of lawyers who are experienced in complex family law matters. 

For various reasons, many individuals believe that it would be in their best interests to represent themselves in divorce. While this may seem practical, a divorce is a complex legal process, and people often find themselves overwhelmed by the paperwork and court process. As a result, an unrepresented individual may make the mistake of agreeing to a custody arrangement that is not in his or her best interests.

Changing child support orders after a divorce is final

Divorce is a complex time, and it is difficult to accurately estimate financial circumstances months or years after the proceedings are final. Child support, spousal support and other obligations can lead to financial strain, but a Missouri parent is not out of options. There are ways by which a person can seek legal changes to child support orders through a modification request.

The support orders put into place during a divorce may work for a time, but circumstances can change. Jobs change, people remarry or a serious accident can quickly eat through financial resources. Whatever the reason may be, a person has the right to seek a modification to an existing support order. These modifications should accurately reflect the changes in the supporting parent's financial circumstances.

Actress and ex-fiance agree to child custody agreement

Missouri readers may be interested to know that famous actress Uma Thurman and her ex-fiance have finally agreed to a custody agreement after an extended dispute.  The terms of the child custody dispute are not available to the public, but a judge complimented the parents' ability to compromise on an arrangement. The judge also stated that the parents worked together to make their daughter happy.

This agreement comes at the end of a contentious, public custody dispute. Recently, the father sued Ms. Thurman in order to gain more time with their 3-year-old daughter. As this case illustrates, parents may sometimes find it necessary to take legal action in order secure their rightful parenting time. 

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