Whether you’re looking for a change to an existing child custody agreement or are filing for custody for the first time, you want an experienced child custody lawyer on your side. Aramjoo Law Firm will help you fight for your child. We want to hear about your case and answer your questions.

The Basics of Missouri Child Custody Law

The state of Missouri will encourage a 50/50 custody arrangement to foster a meaningful relationship with both parents. A judge will consider many factors in your specific case. In the end, the state works to find a custody arrangement that puts the child first, no matter how unhappy that may make one parent.

Understanding the Difference Between Legal and Physical Custody

Before we delve into the differences between legal and physical custody, understand that there are four outcomes of custody. They include:

  • Parents share joint legal and physical custody
  • One parent has sole legal custody but they share physical custody
  • One parent has sole physical custody but they share legal custody
  • One parent has both sole legal and physical custody

Legal custody has to do with making decisions regarding the child’s upbringing. This includes decisions such as:

  • Education
  • Medical/healthcare
  • Religion
  • Extra-circular activities

If one parent has sole legal custody, they could make the decision about any of these factors themselves. If parents share legal custody, they make these decisions jointly.

Physical custody only refers to where the child spends their time. As such if the child lives only with one parent, they are said to have sole physical custody. This is rare unless one parent is abusive, a danger to the child or an absentee parent. In most cases, a child spends time with both parents to some extent.

State laws in Missouri require the court to determine what is in the best interest of the child. You need a strong child custody lawyer on your side if you are fighting for sole legal and/or physical custody of your children.

Establishing Custody During a Divorce

You and your child custody lawyer will work through a parenting plan that you feel is in the children’s best interests. However, in compliance with Missouri state laws, you must consider these factors:

  • The children’s needs to maintain a meaningful relationship with both parents
  • The willingness of each parent to facilitate a relationship
  • Other significant people in the child’s life such as siblings, step-siblings and grandparents
  • Physical and mental health of all parties involved
  • Intention of either party to relocate with the child
  • What the child desires regarding their living situation (depending on age)

Most commonly, joint custody will be awarded as long as it is in the child’s best interest. This would require both parents to work amicably regarding the health and well-being of the child fostering a mutual love and respect for the other parent so the child can thrive.

Establishing Paternity

If a child is born to unmarried parents, a paternity judgment must be established by the court before custody can be determined. Once the judgment for paternity has been granted, the father then has equal rights to the child. As a child custody attorney, we can help you every step of the way, from establishing paternity to gaining custody. At Aramjoo Law Firm, we understand how important it is for your child to have the best possible outcome in the midst of a life-changing situation. Call us today to get started on your paternity case.

Modifying Custody

When it comes to modifying a custody order, you need an experienced and aggressive child custody attorney to help. At Aramjoo Law Firm we will help you gather and present the evidence of a significant change in circumstances. The court will not consider a modification except in cases where there is a significant change of circumstance or when a child expresses a desire for a change of custody. However, he child must be at least 11 years old before a judge will take their preferences into consideration. It is the judge’s discretion as to how much weight the child’s wishes are given. As the child gets older, the more their opinion may have on the judge’s decision.

We Can Help

Whether your divorce is final or you’re seeking divorce and need the help of a divorce and child custody attorney, we’re here for you. The Aramjoo Law Firm handles all aspects of family law including child custody, visitation, divorce and child support. Call us today at (816) 479-5898 or fill out our contact form to schedule your confidential consultation.