For parents with minor children, addressing child custody and visitation issues can be the challenging aspect of ending a relationship or marriage. The outcome of a child custody dispute will forever impact your life and your relationship with your child. In Missouri, the court determines custody based on what it determines is in the best interest of the child. The court considers numerous factors when making these decisions, and having an experienced attorney on your team who understands the process is essential.
Success in child custody cases results from preparation, planning, and knowledge. The family law attorneys at Featherston Lecour Law Firm can help you navigate the system and reach an outcome that is best for your child. As experienced family law attorneys, we have the knowledge and resources necessary to ensure you reach a custody agreement that protects your relationship with your children.
Child Custody in Missouri
In Missouri, the courts generally award custody by considering what is in the child's best interests. The state of Missouri does not give preferential treatment to mothers. The courts assume it is in the child's best interest to have a continuing and meaningful relationship with both parents. Physical custody refers to which parent the child lives with most of the time. Legal custody means the right to decide on the child's education, healthcare, social activities, and other vital issues. Both types may be sole or joint. If necessary, the attorneys at Featherston Lecour Law Firm will represent your rights and secure a fair and suitable custody arrangement through negotiation, mediation, or litigation.
What Is Joint Custody?
Joint legal custody means that the parents share decision-making rights, responsibilities, and authority related to their child's health, education, and general welfare. Unless the judge orders one parent to have decision-making rights over a particular issue, the parents must confer to decide on that issue. Joint physical custody means both parents have significant periods when the child resides with them.
What Is Sole Custody?
Sole legal custody gives one parent decision-making rights, responsibilities, and authority regarding the child's health, education, and welfare. Sole physical custody means that the child resides with one parent. Non-custodial parents are often granted specific visitation rights when sole physical custody is given to the other parent.
What Is a Parenting Plan?
Missouri requires a parenting plan for all cases involving child custody. Parenting plans must be submitted to the court and approved. If parents cannot agree on a plan together, they can each submit a plan to the court. After reviewing each plan, the judge will either accept one of the proposed plans or create a new one. A parenting plan, or custody agreement, is intended to assist parents with determining a custody and visitation schedule, outlines each parent's decision-making rights and responsibilities, and specifies how conflicts will be resolved. It should also specify how expenses related to the child will be paid.
Child Custody Modifications
When there is a significant change in circumstances, a court may consider a child custody modification. These changes are made when the court determines it's in the child's best interests. The attorneys at Featherston Lecour Law Firm can help you obtain a child custody modification by negotiating an updated agreement with the other parent or by filing a motion with the court along with the appropriate evidence to support the change.
Contact the Featherston Lecour Law Firm Today
If you are searching for a family law attorney in the St. Charles area, contact the Featherston Lecour Law Firm at (636) 685-0440. We offer compassionate and aggressive representation for family law issues, including divorce, child support, custody, paternity, and alimony. Our experienced attorneys will protect your parental rights and address your concerns regarding your child's welfare.