St. Charles County Child Custody Lawyer
Deciding to get a divorce is a tough decision, particularly if you co-parent children. Determining which of you will gain physical and legal custody of your children will likely be the most contentious legal fight of your divorce proceedings. To ensure that your children are safe, healthy, and happy during this process, you will need to retain the services of our highly knowledgeable St. Charles County child custody lawyers from Cavanagh & Associates to represent your best interests and those of your children.
At Cavanagh & Associates, we will take the time to learn about your family’s needs in child custody negotiations so our attorneys can sway the court’s decision in your favor, if you and your ex-spouse cannot come to a mutually beneficial agreement. Our child custody attorneys will consult with expert witnesses such as child psychologists and child development experts, when necessary, to help you achieve your objectives in custody litigations in the increasingly complex and often hotly contested child custody landscape.
We can also help you with the following child custody and visitation issues:
- Child protection orders
- Child support
- Grandparents’ rights
- And more
Missouri Parenting Plan Documentation Requirement
Missouri law requires “parenting plan” documentation to be written and submitted to the court. This document outlines details such as custody, visitation, decision-making rights, and how parents will handle disputes. The parenting plan may be co-submitted by both spouses or each spouse can submit their own plan separately.
What Types of Child Custody Exist in Missouri?
Missouri courts have two types of child custody: physical custody and legal custody. A variety of arrangements may be ordered by the court, and one parent may have sole physical and/or legal custody, or the parents may share joint custody. Legal custody is typically divided between both parents so either parents can make decisions about things such as medical treatment, education, financial matters, general welfare, and so on, but family courts have flexibility in how legal custody is determined. Physical custody refers to which parent has possession of the child and when.
How a Missouri Family Court Judge Decides Child Custody
Missouri no longer automatically awards physical and legal custody to the mother, but rather, uses numerous factors in determining the custody arrangement that would best meet the child’s needs. Missouri law considers joint custody to be the ideal situation for most children except in rare circumstances, as the best possible arrangement is where a child can continue maintaining a close relationship and frequent contact with both of their parents. However, Missouri law may deem a parent “unfit” if there is a reason, including child abuse, domestic abuse, drug abuse, neglect, or mental illness that poses a threat to the child’s wellbeing.
At one time, American courts had predictable, one-size-fits all child custody plans in which divorced fathers were given visitation every other weekend and the mother was given sole physical custody of the children. This is no longer the case. Today, divorcing parents have more control over the amount of time they get to spend with their children, but they must also choose wisely and retain a good lawyer who understands how seriously you take your relationship with your children.
Discerning parents choose our child custody lawyers in St. Charles County because:
- We have effectively represented divorcing parents for 50+ years.
- We offer unique, creative strategies and never take a cookie cutter approach.
- Past clients recommend us and say we treated them like friends rather than just a paycheck.
Should I Hire a Child Custody Attorney in St. Charles County, MO?
At Cavanagh & Associates, we highly encourage divorcing Missourians couples to look for a child custody lawyer when they are parting ways with their estranged spouse. No two child custody cases are the same, and our experienced child custody lawyers will take the time to familiarize ourselves with your case and customize our services to meet your unique needs. During what is undoubtedly a stressful time, our team will be there to help fill out complex legal paperwork and complete negotiations on your behalf so your life can as streamlined as possible and you can focus on your family.
Are you facing child custody disputes or looking into a child custody modification? Contact us at Cavanagh & Associates today for a consultation. Dial (314) 309-2799 today.
“I would recommend Mr. Cavanagh as well as use him again in the future.”- Former Client
“Truth will always prevail.”- Mr. Callaway
“Great Team! Highly Recommended.”- Donald Salisbury