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St. Louis Divorce Law Blog

THE NEW SHARED CUSTODY BILL- HOW TO MAKE IT WORK FOR YOU

Three years ago, Governor Jay Nixon signed into law a "Shared Parenting" bill, known as HB 1550, which basically stated that it is in a child's best interests to have both parents in his or her life.

Now there is another that was discussed in the Missouri House and Senate over the past term, but may pick up traction when they reconvene after the summer. This bill gets a lot more specific and actually will mandate courts to start with a presumption that parents should emerge from a divorce or custody case with each side having 50% custody. The presumption is that it is in a child's best interest that the parents will share equal time with the child, however, a judge can look at a bunch of factors and possibly determine that the 50/50 schedule is NOT going to be in a child's best interests. So, if you are going through (or about to go through) custody litigation, how can you best optimize your chances to have 50/50 custody with your "co-parent"?

HOW TO INTERACT AND COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR CHILD'S OTHER PARENT (AFTER YOU ARE NO LONGER TOGETHER)

There are often hard feelings between couples after they split up and their children can get caught in the cross fire.If you are one of those parents, this can make co-parenting extremely difficult and stressful, for both the parents and the kids. I got to sit in on a mediation a social worker was doing with two parents to come up with a custody schedule and I got to see how she went through a specific communication plan with them as well.

Once you go from being a couple to being co-parents, you need to look at it like a business transaction. There is probably no place for emotions to get involved when dealing with the other parent. However, if you are sharing custody, whether it is joint or sole legal custody, communication is very important. And parents should never be communicating about adult issues through the kids.

WHO WILL BE AFFECTED BY ST LOUIS COUNTY PROSECUTOR WESLEY BELL'S NEW CHILD SUPPORT POLICY AND WHAT CAN YOU DO?

Jail time .jpgWhen Wesley Bell became prosecutor of St Louis County several weeks ago, he stated that one of his new policy changes is that the St Louis County Prosecuting Attorney's office would no longer criminally charge people if they fail to pay child support. His reason for this is that the non-paying parent is not making any money in jail. And it also might make it harder for them to find a job in the future if they have a felony on their record.

Creating a strong and stable future for the children

Missouri parents who are walking through the divorce process are likely concerned with how the decisions they make will impact the mental and emotional well-being of their children. In order to minimize the negative impact and protect the kids, some parents choose to create their own parenting plan outside of court.

An out-of-court parenting plan is often a smart choice for families. If you are considering this option, it may be in your interests to ensure you craft a plan that is smart and beneficial for you and your children for years to come. The ultimate goal of any custody, visitation and parenting plan is the protection of the well-being of the kids above all other factors.

Keep holiday stress to a minimum after divorce

You and your spouse made a mutual decision to divorce. You agreed that you would do your best to settle all child-related, property and other issues as amicably as possible in a Missouri court, even though there were issues that have prompted disagreement between you. You have no way of predicting the future; however, you may be able to plan ahead so that you can avoid problems and have a plan of action in mind if a legal issue does arise.

The holiday season is just around the bend, and this time of year often creates stressful situations for recently divorced parents. By keeping a few helpful tips in mind, you can set the tone for a peaceful holiday season but can also be prepared to handle any legal difficulties that threaten your holiday joy.

Child support payments may be used for a diverse range of costs

Taking care of a child is a difficult but rewarding endeavor. Aside from the emotional and physical issues that a child may have to confront throughout their life, they also have many basic day-to-day needs that must be taken care of to ensure that they can live a happy and safe life.

In Missouri, custodial parents who are taking care of their kids on their own may be able to secure child support payments for them from their kids' other l parent.

Establishing paternity can open legal doors for a father

There are several ways that a Missouri man may be designated as the father of a child. If he is married to the child's mother at the time of the birth, then he may be presumed to be the father. He may also acknowledge that he is the father of a child by signing a declaration and including his name on the child's birth certificate.

If a child is born and no father is designated, however, that child may not be able to recognize a legal father until a paternity test is undertaken. A paternity test can determine if a child and a man are biologically related and if the man is a biological parent to the child. Paternity tests use genetic material to compare the DNA of the child to that of the man being tested.

Money may not be a cure for all marital woes

Depending upon who you ask, money may be considered the greatest of goods or the cause of all evil in the world. For those who do not have enough money to make ends meet, the idea of having significant wealth may seem like a dream in which all of their concerns would melt away. However, for those who have seen how money conflicts can tear apart families, the idea of excessive wealth may be a nightmare and something to be avoided.

Missouri residents might be able to correctly guess, therefore, that money is a major factor in many American divorces. While some couples struggle to work through their different ideas about spending and saving, others simply find their marriages to be too difficult to endure when money is tight. A lack of money makes sense as a cause of divorce, but a recent survey suggests that having a lot of money can also be a sign that a marriage could be in trouble.

What courts will consider when making child custody decisions

In the wake of a divorce, it can be very difficult for parents to fully comprehend the challenges that their kids will face as their lives are forever changed. In Missouri, parents are allowed to attempt to work out their own child custody plans, but those plans must ultimately serve the best interests of the kids to whom they will apply. If parents cannot for whatever reason settle these matters, courts will step in and create child custody plans for them.

When deciding how to protect a child's interests and thus prevent undue hardship from befalling them in the aftermath of their parents' divorce, courts will consider many important factors. They will assess whether the parents are prepared to take on custodial responsibilities and in their assessments courts will look at the mental and physical wellbeing of the parents. They will evaluate if the child has stronger ties to one parent than the other, and they will consider any allegations or proof of abuse that may exist in the family's history.

Do you need information on sole custody and joint custody?

Going through divorce may be one of the most trying times in your life. You may have struggled for some time to even come to this decision, and now you have a number of other life-changing decisions ahead of you. In particular, you likely worry about how the choices you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse make will impact your children.

In particular, possible child custody arrangements are likely weighing heavily on your mind. You may not know what type of agreement will best suit the needs of your family and the best interests of your children. Fortunately, you can take the time to gain information on the available options before making any decisions.

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