Who Gets the Kids?

Instinctively, most parents want to have their children with them always, but when you find yourself in a custody battle, this is rarely a possibility. An experienced lawyer with specialized practice areas in child custody and family law makes all the difference when you are sorting out custody and child support in one of the most vulnerable times of your life.

We have been serving Columbia, MO and the surrounding area for years and are familiar with the laws regarding child custody.

Child Custody Cases in Missouri

Children will forever belong to both parents in one way or another. However, when it comes to child custody arrangements, the court will decide what is best for the child and how much time each parent receives with their child or children.

When making rulings in child custody cases in Missouri, the court considers the following factors before making their decision:

  1. Which parent is more willing to actively provide for the child’s needs. When preparing to fight for your rights as a parent in court, we will help you think about how to prove to the court that you are the more willing and active parent. Before you meet with us, make a list of documents and character witnesses that can support your position.

    It is also helpful to think through questions similar to the following: Can you support your child more financially? Emotionally? Who will be paying child support? Can you attend basketball games and science fairs? 

    Research from the Stanford Graduate School of Business supports benefits linked to having a stay-at-home parent.

  2. The child’s interactions and relationships with family members in both homes, i.e. siblings, significant other, etc. Similar to the list you made above, create a list of reasons, documents, and character witnesses to support your argument that the people in your life are healthy influences in your child’s life.

    Questions to ask yourself: Who lives with you? Who are your neighbors and close friends? How do they provide a support system for your child?

    The people your child interacts with shapes their life. A court will take into consideration each person your child interacts with whether it big or small. Children are impressionable creatures. Influence can come from any direction whether positive or negative.

    How do you interact with people? Have you fought in front of your child? Has your former partner? Fight in front of your child or in general can display a temper that would not favor well in court.

  3. Which parent is more likely to allow the other parent frequent, continuing, and meaningful contact with the child. Many parents get into trouble on this factor by trying to hinder the relationship between their child and the other parent by refusing visitation or by failing to share information. Make sure you are on the right side of this factor. A child will suffer from a lack of interaction with either parent.

    In the end, the child may resent the withholding parent for keeping them from their other parent. After all, the child will be able to identify themselves in both parents. A family law attorney will help negotiate a fair schedule that best benefits the child.

  4. The child’s adjustment to home, school, and community. In many cases, it may be necessary to obtain school records and documents showing the child’s involvement in extracurricular activities. No court will want to disrupt a child’s life even more by yanking them out of their favorite school activities.

    Be sure to take careful notes. While all information could play into your custody case, the more detailed and engaged you can be in your case will help you achieve your goals.

  5. The mental and physical health of the parties. If a parent or child has mental or physical health problems, it is important to consult with an attorney to make sure your case presents this evidence in a careful manner.

  6. Whether either party may endanger the child’s health, impair emotional development, or work against his/her best interests. The wellbeing of the child is the court’s primary concern. Do you live in a less safe area compared to your former partner? Are you able to provide supervision and care to your child? Do you have unresolved legal issues?

Child custody issues are complex and stressful. When you’re experiencing one of the hardest times of your life, you need someone in your court. This is why the attorney-client relationship is a key component at Benner Law.

We personally understand the trials of divorce and the everlasting impact it holds well past the papers being signed. Our law office focuses on divorce and family law within Boone County and surrounding counties. This enables our family law attorney focus to have personal experience in each court.

If you still have questions and are worried about your kids, please contact Benner Law to schedule a consultation.

Benner Family Law provides child custody services.

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