Child Custody & Support

When a child is born, both parents have rights to their child.  However, until a Court order is entered, those rights are undefined.

When do I get to see my child?

Who makes decisions for my child?

Who has to pay for my child’s expenses?

Generally speaking, when two parents have a child, whether within or outside of marriage, each parent has certain rights and responsibilities to their child.  However, until a court order is entered, those rights are undefined.  Legal custody is presumed to be shared by both parents unless a judge finds that a shared arrangement is not in the best interests of a child or that the parents do not have a history of cooperation in matters concerning a child.  The Aranda Law Firm helps answer many common questions people often have when going through custody proceedings, including:

  • How often will I be able to see my child?
  • What is joint custody?
  • What is a parenting plan and do I need one?
  • When will custody be decided?
  • Who makes decisions for my child?
  • Who must pay for my child’s expenses?

These rights and responsibilities can only be determined by a Court (or by agreement of the parents, however that agreement is not necessarily enforceable in a Court of law).  When a Court reviews custody cases, it is generally tasked with entering a parenting plan that is in the best interests of the child(ren).  Missouri law sets forth certain factors that a Court must consider when determining the best interests of the child(ren).  Some of those factors include the wishes of the parents, the child(ren)’s need to have a meaningful relationship with both parents, and the mental and physical health of the parents.  Sometimes, when a child is old enough, the child’s wishes are considered by the Court.

Child support in Missouri is determined by using a “Form 14”.  The Form 14 takes into consideration a number of financial factors, including the parties gross income, work-related child care costs, whether the parents have other children or pay court ordered obligations (i.e. maintenance, child support) and health insurance costs, as well as a number of other factors.  Additionally, the parent paying support will often get a credit based upon the number of nights that parent spends with their son or daughter.

To learn more about the child custody legal representation the Aranda Law Firm offers, schedule your initial consultation online or by calling (314) 665-3678.

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