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The Importance of a Custom Custody and Visitation Arrangement

As a parent and divorce lawyer, I know the challenges parents face, whether they are married or divorced. As children get older, sporting events and social activities increase. Even if parents are no longer together, they still should remain active in their children's lives and attend to their various needs. Custody and visitation agreements allow both a mother and a father to make vital decisions and bring a sense of stability to their children's lives.

At the Law Office of Barbara Graham, LLC, I help minimize the disruptions your children experience following a divorce and help your entire family move on.

The courts put the best interests of children first. I share that approach and encourage my clients to do the same. Contact my St. Louis-area law office, call me at 314-226-1428 or call toll free at 866-734-9630.

Best Interests of the Child Guide Custody and Visitation

Children should always come before the agenda of parents. They too are casualties of a marital dissolution. While their parents are in the process of divorcing, sports practices continue, requiring a ride from mom or dad. They continue to attend classes and get together with their friends. Giving them a sense of normalcy during emotionally difficult times is important.

Putting their best interests first means that they should be shielded from bitter disputes or the need for visitation enforcement. They should not be used as leverage by one parent over another. If both spouses are fit parents, I will help negotiate a custody agreement that works best for everyone involved.

How Custody Works in Missouri

There are two parts to a custody order under Missouri law, legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody deals with the decision-making for the child, including decisions regarding education, religion, health care, extracurricular activities, etc. Physical custody defines which parent the child is physically with during the different days of the week.

Joint legal custody means that the parents have an obligation to work together to make the decisions regarding their children's lives. Sole legal custody to one parent means that one parent may make the decisions regarding the children's lives, although the parent with sole legal custody does have an obligation to discuss these decisions with the other parent.

With either type of legal custody arrangement, there must be a plan for physical custody, so that arrangements are made for which parent the children will be with on any given day. In cases in which the parents share joint physical custody, one parent will be designated as the "residential parent," which means that parent's address is the child's address for school district purposes.

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For more information or to schedule an appointment with an experienced Missouri child custody attorney, please contact me.