Assertive Protection Of Your Parental Rights
For many parents facing divorce or the end of a nonmarital relationship, the biggest concern is how it will impact the child and the parental relationship. Missouri child custody laws are designed to act in the best interests of the child. It is important to enlist the representation of a knowledgeable Missouri family law attorney who understands these custody laws and can work to protect your relationship with your child.
At Howard L. Lotven, A Professional Corporation, in Kansas City, we advocate aggressively for parents in all matters of child custody and visitation. We understand the important role that parents play in their children’s lives, and we work to achieve our clients’ objectives regarding custody, parenting plans, child support and all other aspects of parenting after a marital or nonmarital relationship ends.
In many cases, we help our clients reach an agreement on custody and parenting plan issues with their child’s other parent through negotiation or mediation. This prevents drawn-out litigation that can be costly and stressful for everyone involved. However, when a fair agreement cannot be reached in this manner, we are always prepared to advocate aggressively for our clients in court.
Understanding Missouri Child Custody Laws
When dealing with custody issues, it is important to understand Missouri laws in order to set realistic expectations and determine priorities. The court will determine physical custody — who the child spends days and nights with — as well as legal custody, which is the authority to make decisions regarding a child’s health care, education, religious upbringing and other important matters. It is common for both parents to share physical and legal custody.
Missouri courts act “in the best interests of the child” after considering a number of factors, including each parent’s relationship with the child and the child’s home situation. If the child is old enough — generally around age 11 — the court may also consider his or her wishes in making a final decision. Other factors the court examines include:
- The ability and willingness of both parents to actively perform their parental duties
- The willingness of each parent to allow regular and ongoing contact with the child’s other parent
- The relationship of the child with each parent, siblings and other people who may affect the child’s best interests
- The child’s current situation regarding home, schooling and community involvement
Because it can take several months to finalize a divorce, the court can issue temporary custody orders that will be in effect until the parties resolve other issues, and the court makes a permanent ruling on custody matters. In addition, parties may seek modifications to existing custody orders if any aspect of the parties’ situation warrants such a change. We assist individuals with petitions to modify existing orders.
We Are Ready To Preserve Your Parental Rights
We welcome the opportunity to help you ensure that your relationship with your child remains intact following the end of your marriage or nonmarital relationship. Call 816-399-5639 or use our online contact form to schedule a consultation.