What to expect when making child custody plans

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Child Custody on Thursday, February 15, 2018.

Jumping through the hoops of a divorce is hardly an uncommon occurrence in Missouri, but nevertheless can be a potentially challenging task. Those with children may first question what, exactly, the new living arrangements might be. When the situation is not black and white, turning to available resources can help make for a smoother process.

Oftentimes, parents argue that it is best for a child to live only under one roof. In these instances, and in the gray areas in between, the Missouri Courts website can help clarify the state guidelines for child custody. If filing a petition for child custody is the chosen route, parents must understand that such a petition applies when paternity is established under Missouri law but lacks a custody order. First, parents must gather necessary documents, including the child’s birth certificate, a completed “Declaration of Paternity” form (of which the Missouri Bureau of Vital Records must receive) and other required paperwork. Courts may also require parents to supply recent financial information. After these steps, a court clerk may issue a “summons,” which a court official will then deliver to the other parent. The process that follows depends on the other parent’s response to the summons, and may result in a hearing.

The ways courts decide on child custody may seem easier said than done; Findlaw clarifies some common questions surrounding this process. When parents cannot agree on arrangements for a child, child custody and visitation may become a decision of the court’s. In legal custody cases, parents may share decisions regarding education, health care, religion and other aspects of life. Split custody is another type of plan, wherein children are split between parents. Although the options may vary, courts generally try to avoid separating siblings, and aim to reach a decision based on the best interest of the child or children involved.

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