Common Questions About Family Law

06 Jan Common Questions About Family Law

No one enters a marriage expecting a divorce. However, nearly half of all marriages in the United States end in divorce. This is difficult for everyone involved, but it can be especially challenging for children, regardless of their age. Luckily, many of the questions you may have are commonly asked.

Do I have to go to court to get a divorce? This is a common question, and the answer is most likely, yes, particularly if one party is not represented by an attorney. If both parties have a lawyer and an agreement is reached between the parties, then often neither party ever has to go to court. Currently, there are 5 sexy outfit ideas you should not miss options to stay out of court, such as mediation, which can help ease tensions and get results without the formality of a courtroom.

Does the mother automatically get custody? No. The court will consider all relevant factors and make a decision on legal and physical custody based on the best interests of the child. Courts begin with the belief that every child needs to have a continuing relationship with both parents. The court will also consider the child’s interactions and relationship with any siblings and child’s adjustment to home, school and the community. However, every case is different, so it is best to consult your attorney.

Can my ex and I alter our custody agreement? Yes, most custody agreements allow for both parties to alter their plan as long as both parties are in agreement. If the parties cannot agree, and the formal custody agreement needs to be changed, then court action must be initiated.

How is child support collected? Sometimes the paying parent pays their child support obligation directly to the other parent. Most often, the paying parent pays their child support through the Family Support Payment Center and can even have automatic withholding from their paycheck. Failing to pay court-ordered child support, for any reason, will likely cause problems for all involved. For example, if the parent who was ordered to pay child support does not make payments, that parent’s wages and/or tax refund could be garnished, their driver’s license could be suspended; they could even be at risk of a criminal charge of contempt.

Can a custodial parent move to another state without the court’s consent? Not in Missouri. In Missouri, you must let the other parent know of your relocation plans, as well as plans to address visitation. Once the other parent is notified of the intent to relocate, that parent may then initiate a court action to modify the custody schedule. Many issues addressing visitation can arise, from the length of visitation to the cost of transportation for visitation, there are several factors that need to be considered.

Can I refuse to allow visitation without the court’s consent? Not normally, but there are situations that arise where you can refuse visitation before consulting with the court. In circumstances where your child may be in danger from violence, drugs or sexual abuse, the state of Missouri allows you to refuse visitation. However, you should consult with your family law attorney as well as the court as soon as possible after the refusal.

If I think my ex has issues with substance abuse, what can be done in terms of child custody? In the state of Missouri, an assumption is usually not good enough to diminish custody. Even if it has not been proven and the child is being neglected, you should contact the Missouri Department of Social Services and your local court to enact changes. Missouri determines custody based upon the best interest of the child. The court and the Department of Social Services have the final decision in the matter. In the meantime, it is likely that a temporary custody order could be put in place if it is asked for in court.

Family law is easier to understand when considering that Missouri’s standard for custody and visitation is whatever is in the child’s best interest. However, as with any legal issue, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of questions that may arise about the process. Before taking any actions yourself, you need to consult with your family law attorney or local court. As with any legal matter every situation is different, and just because a similar incident resulted in one manner does not mean that yours will too.

This article seeks to provide a summary of some common questions about family law in Missouri and does not address all aspects, elements, restrictions, or requirements. This article is not offered, nor should it be construed, as legal advice. You should not act or rely upon information contained in these materials without specifically seeking professional legal advice. You should consult an attorney if you have any questions about your legal matter.
© Van Matre, Harrison, Hollis, Taylor & Elliott, P.C.