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Missouri Child Custody Lawyers

As a loving parent, it is only natural to want to raise your child in the best way possible – even when you and your spouse are legally separating. Divorce may be a complication in parenting, but you can still protect your child’s best interests by successfully working out child custody matters.

If you have a child custody issue in Missouri, we at Shea Kohl are ready to help you resolve it. Missouri family law is an ever-changing legal maze, making family issues even more delicate. Our law firm has the experience, resources, and creativity to develop practical solutions for you and your child. Talk to us about child custody today.

Types Of Child Custody

There are several types of child custody in Missouri.

In terms of components, we have legal custody and physical custody. Having legal custody means that you have the decision-making rights, authority, and responsibilities regarding your child’s education, health, and welfare. Meanwhile, physical custody is about having your child’s physical presence with you – in other words, being able to spend time together with him or her.

Child custody is also classified according to how it is divided between parents. There is joint custody, where both parents share the parenting rights and responsibilities, and there is sole custody, which means that only one parent has these.

Missouri thus recognizes these custody arrangements:

  • Both parents get joint physical and legal custody.
  • Both parents get joint legal custody but only one gets sole physical custody.
  • Both parents get joint physical custody but only one gets sole legal custody.
  • Only one parent gets sole physical and legal custody.
  • A court-appointed third party (such as a grandparent) gets custody or visitation rights.

A state law passed in 2016 has moved the Missouri family court closer to favoring joint custody. However, this does not necessarily dictate the outcome of your custody case. Your specific circumstances – and how well you fight for your case – can still shape the outcome in your favor.

How Missouri Determines Child Custody

In deciding the custody of your child, the court’s main goal is the child’s best interests. There are many factors that lead to this decision, and in Missouri, these are only some of the factors that the court considers:

  • Both parents’ wishes and intentions stated in their parenting plan (this plan is a document that is required of both parents during divorce)
  • Each parent’s ability and willingness to raise the child properly
  • The child’s adjustment to home, school, and community
  • The child’s interrelationship with parents, siblings, and other people who may be involved
  • Which parent is more likely to allow the child’s continuing and meaningful contact with the other parent
  • The mental and physical health of all persons involved
  • Any history of neglect or abuse
  • Either parent’s plan to relocate, if any
  • The wishes of the child – Missouri courts consider that at around age 11, a child can properly form and express opinions regarding which parent to stay with.

Modifying Child Custody

Once the court has given a child custody order, it cannot be changed unless the court finds that there is a significant change in circumstances that affect the child. Thus, if you wish to have your child custody order modified, you must prove these two things:

  • That the circumstances have significantly changed since the enforcing of the original order, and
  • That because of this change, the original order no longer reflects the child’s best interests.

What counts as a “significant change” that warrants a child support order modification? Here are some examples:

  • Change in living situations, such as if one parent remarries, loses a job, or relocates
  • Substantial change in the health of a parent
  • One parent’s refusal to allow the other the appropriate parenting time
  • Substantial change in the child’s needs – for instance, if he or she develops an illness and it is found that the non-custodial parent would be better able to provide the needed care
  • Incidents of abuse or neglect.

If you believe that changing your custody order would be best for your child now, don’t hesitate to discuss it with a family law attorney. Your lawyer can help you see the legal options available to you and your child, and assist you in successfully seeking order modification.

Practical Solutions From Shea Kohl Law

Whether you are seeking child custody during divorce, or you wish to change the already-existing custody order, you can count on Shea Kohl Law for the legal services you need. In our 90+ years of experience, we have helped numerous Missouri parents obtain ideal outcomes from their family law case. Our law firm’s trademark is practicality – workable solutions with tangible, measurable results. Here’s what you can expect from us:

  • Candid appraisal of your case, and the corresponding pragmatic solutions that take into account the various aspects of your child’s future
  • Skillful representation in and out of the court
  • Confidentiality and respect throughout your case
  • Clear and consistent communication, so you understand exactly how your case is progressing.

Shea Kohl Law is based in St. Charles, MO. We serve the counties of St. Charles, Lincoln, St. Louis, and Warren, as well as nearby areas in Illinois.

Contact Us

We can start just by talking about your situation with your child. Your initial consultation with us is free, and we guarantee that your information with us is kept confidential. Call Shea Kohl Law today at (636) 946-9999.

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Shea Kohl Law, LC serves clients in Missouri including St. Charles, Troy and Lincoln and throughout Warren and St. Louis counties. We also serve clients in Illinois.