Child Custody Lawyers in Lee's Summit, MO
Divorce and paternity actions are complicated processes with many steps to review and negotiate during an emotionally charged time. For many, the most complicated and emotional portion of either is determining the child custody arrangement that each spouse will follow proceeding a divorce or paternity suit. In all child custody matters, the best interests of the child are the highest priority for Siegel & Irwin, LLC. Each child custody case varies in complexity and our child custody attorneys are qualified in in-state custody, interstate child custody, and other complex situations that arise. The lawyers at our child custody law firm are skilled in child custody hearings and can help tailor your representation to your unique situation.
An Overview of Child Custody Law in Missouri
Each county in Missouri hears its own custody mediation and court cases and establishes child custody or child visitation arrangements. Missouri requires an established parenting plan that dictates how parents will work together in raising children after a separation. In Missouri, a parenting class may also be required after a dissolution of marriage or paternity action for parents who will have custody (joint or sole) of children and may be different in each county. Our child custody attorneys can assist you in determining the correct course following a child custody arrangement if necessary.
Types of Child Custody in Missouri
Custody refers to the rights and responsibilities of parents to their children. The primary consideration in all custody cases is the best interest of the child. In any case involving custody, the Missouri court must make two types of orders: legal custody and physical custody.
Legal custody refers to a parent’s right to make important decisions regarding the child’s health, education, and general welfare.
Physical custody concerns the general arrangement for the amount of time each parent spends with the child. A key consideration in physical custody matters is a schedule of parenting time or visitation.
Legal and physical custody can both be shared (joint custody) or awarded to only one parent (sole custody). However, legal and physical custody can differ in how responsibilities are shared.
Missouri law prefers that both parents get frequent and meaningful contact with a child in a joint custody arrangement, while a sole custody arrangement may occur in situations that involve neglect, abuse, or other parental issues. The custody arrangement most appropriate in your situation depends on the circumstances of your case. Our child custody attorneys can provide you with sound guidance when establishing a custody arrangement that is in the best interest of your child.
How Can a Lawyer Help with Child Custody Disputes?
At Siegel & Irwin, LLC, our child custody attorneys have navigated clients through many contested and non-contested custody of children cases. If there are any disputes between former or soon-to-be former spouses, a lawyer who specializes in child custody can be extremely helpful to have on your side
In any child custody arrangement, the best interests of the children are top of mind, but a lawyer can assist and help you understand the child custody rights you have as a parent. Our child custody law firm can walk through your specific situation and help determine factors in the best interest of the child.
Our child custody lawyers can help arrange and establish the custodial arrangement and parenting plan for your children. Just like in a dissolution of marriage, paperwork and court representation are critical steps in child custody agreements. A non-specialized lawyer or self-representation can be a critical misstep in your divorce as it relates to impact on child custody.
When any arrangement is in doubt, a lawyer will fight for you during contested custody battles and make sure that a court proceeding protects you and your children’s’ interests.
FAQ for the Child Custody Process in Missouri
What Factors are Considered for the “Best Interest of the Child?”
There are many factors evaluated by the court system to determine an outcome that is in the best interest of a child. Among many factors, these may include the child’s wishes, relationship between the child and each parent, the child’s relationship with any other significant individuals in their lives, the child’s relationship with any other siblings in the home, and each parent’s history of child or spousal abuse or neglect. When you work with our child custody law firm, our attorneys who are qualified in child custody matters will discuss these factors with you to ensure proper representation throughout the child custody process.
What is a Guardian ad Litem?
A Guardian ad Litem is an attorney who represents the best interest of the child. In highly contested custody cases where abuse or neglect is alleged by one or both parents, a Guardian ad Litem is appointed by the court to ensure that the best interest of the child is protected.
What is the Difference Between Child Custody and Child Visitation Rights?
Custody refers to legal custody and/or physical custody detailed above. Some extent of joint physical custody is preferred by Missouri courts. However, there are times when joint custody is not possible and child visitation is necessitated. Child visitation rights are granted when one parent has sole physical custody, but the other parent has the right to regular visits with his or her child.
What is a parenting plan?
A parenting plan is a legal document that provides for legal and physical custody, parenting time, child support, and other important issues that concern how you and the other party will co-parent. A parenting plan must be ordered in cases where divorcing parents have minor children, in paternity actions, and in modifications where custody and parenting time are at issue.
What Details are Included in Parenting Plans?
Parenting plans are detailed, comprehensive documents that specify the parenting arrangements of a child. Parenting plans will include many details including, but not limited to:
- Child custody and child visitation schedules
- Exchange locations, times, and transportation details
- Each parent’s decision-making rights
- Plan for sharing of expenses such as education, healthcare, and childcare
- Communication procedures and dispute-resolution plan
Contact Our Attorneys for a Professional Child Custody Consultation
Our child custody attorneys located near you in Lee’s Summit, MO have assisted many clients with custody issues across the greater Kansas City metro including Cass County, Clay County, Jackson County, Lafayette County, Platte County, and other surrounding counties. Let our Missouri child custody lawyers at Siegel & Irwin, LLC work for you. Call us at (816) 836-9950 or contact us online to schedule a child custody consultation.
Content Reviewed by Kristin Siegel, JD | Attorney at Law