A Guide to Missouri Child Custody Laws & Unmarried Parents
Missouri child custody laws involving unmarried parents can seem challenging to understand. This comprehensive guide and a good law firm can help.
Missouri Child Custody Laws for Unmarried Parents
Missouri child custody laws for married and unmarried parents are often difficult to understand. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the child’s birth, the child’s biological father may have to fight for his parental rights. This is particularly true if his name is not on the child’s birth certificate.
As a single parent, it can sometimes seem unbearable. Whether you are the custodial parent receiving the support or the non-custodial parent providing it, child support is one of the most financially trying aspects of divorce. Child support in St. Louis County is the legal system’s way to ensure that both parents remain responsible and reliable in the financial aspects of raising their child, well after the divorce is final.
Missouri Child Custody Laws Between Unmarried Parents
The Missouri law regarding child custody between unmarried parents is relatively complex. The guidelines for child support primarily take into account the needs of the children, the income of each party, as well as the costs for child care and health insurance. Depending on your individual circumstances, The Carson Law Firm will help you understand how to prepare and what to expect.
Additionally, depending on the individual circumstances, grandparent rights and their ability to be the optimal guardians for the children may also be considered. A child custody lawyer will provide advice, advocacy, and representation.
Dealing With Child Custody Issues and Unmarried Parents Rights
Regardless of what some people believe, unmarried parents still have rights. Many factors influence child support services and cases, and retaining a knowledgeable family law attorney will go a long way towards helping your case.
When choosing a divorce attorney, it is very important to find someone you are comfortable working with because they will guide you through the entire process, including child custody and child support. In Missouri, the guidelines for child support primarily take into account the needs of the children, the income of each party, and the costs for child care and health insurance.
In addition to these guidelines, other family factors also influence determining child support amount. Although child support is a payment required by law, some parents shirk this responsibility and don’t follow through with their St. Louis County child support obligations and payments. When this happens, the custodial parent must explore child support enforcement.
The Missouri Department of Social Services’ MO Family Support Division offers different services, including enforcing child support orders and establishing paternity. Your child needs to be fed and taken care of, and by seeking child support enforcement, you are doing your best to provide for him or her.
Depending on your individual circumstances, your St. Louis County child support attorney will offer legal advice to help you understand how to prepare and what to expect when you seek custody from the other parent.
Understanding Unmarried Couple Child Custody
Unmarried couple child custody can be a complicated issue. Unless there is a voluntary acknowledgment of unmarried fathers to admit paternity, they might need to establish paternity to obtain legal or physical custody.
There are several types of custody in the state of Missouri:
- Legal custody
- Physical custody
- Joint custody
- Sole custody
Physical custody refers to where the child actually lives. Legal custody means having a say in the educational and medical decisions regarding the child.
Generally, unless there are mitigating circumstances, courts suggest joint custody with a parenting plan. After establishing paternity, which may require DNA testing to determine the child’s father, in a joint custody scenario, one parent is granted primary custody. This is to help facilitate the child’s education.
There will be a court order dictating a suggested visitation schedule and potential child support order for unwed fathers, as primary physical custody is usually granted to the mother.
Custody Battles & Unmarried Parents in Missouri
Although custody battles between unmarried parents in Missouri can become quite contentious, a qualified attorney can help walk the two through the process, which might include:
- DNA test
- Genetic testing
- Paternity testing
Circuit court cases about a paternity action can drag on, and it is essential to know your rights in Missouri. In a best-case scenario, unwed fathers and mothers will make decisions based solely on the needs of the child. They can work together to develop a parenting plan in St. Louis according to each’s rights in Missouri.
If the parents can’t agree on a parental plan, they may require visits with social services to determine the best option for the children. The courts will take all of the information into consideration in order to make an ultimate judgment.
To protect your parental rights, it is best to retain the services of a skilled law firm to help obtain a paternity judgment and represent you in court.
Child Custody Laws for Unmarried Parents Living in Different States
Child custody laws for unmarried parents living in different states are quite specific. According to Rule 68, it is illegal to relocate a child forcibly to another state or to refuse to pay for necessary living expenses.
Even though Missouri advocates for father’s rights, there are also specific expected responsibilities. A paternity case involves several legal matters that may include court action. After a judgment, failure to pay support might result in wage garnishment or even jail time. When dealing with paternity rights, it’s vital to consult a reputable law office in Missouri.
Understanding Your Fathers’ Rights in the State of Missouri
Unwed fathers can readily participate in raising their children, but only by establishing their paternity. A Missouri court will almost always encourage joint custody, and a judgment after a paternity test will confirm that the man is the infant’s biological father. After that, the father is provided equal rights and can even petition for custody or visitation.
Generally, child support is considered a separate issue. Often, they are addressed simultaneously, but violation of one does not negate the court order that affects the other.
In order to fully understand your rights, it is imperative that you obtain reputable legal representation. The right law firm will offer sound advice and advocate for your legal rights.
Raising a Child Can Be an Expensive Endeavor Even as a Couple
Dealing with a child custody arrangement often involves a range of Missouri custody laws. Consulting an attorney is an essential part of ensuring the rights of the father, the mother, and especially the children.
Child custody and dealing with other parental rights can often be an issue during a tumultuous divorce procedure. In Missouri, unmarried parents are generally awarded the same freedom to their children. In fact, the court proceedings in Missouri do not differentiate between married and unmarried parents. Since family law in the state can be complicated, it is crucial to hire an experienced St. Louis law firm.
Understanding the Various Parental Rights for Unmarried Couples
When ascertaining the biological father and determining parental rights for unmarried couples, a court may order DNA testing. Unmarried fathers have equal rights unless they are deemed abusive or neglectful.
Missouri Family Courts establish the rights for the custody and support of the children of unmarried parents by determining paternity or through a court order. When the mother and then the assumed father are unwed when the child is born, the child’s paternity must be established. This is true even when the father’s name is on the child’s birth certificate.
Hire The Carson Law Firm for a Good Attorney-Client Relationship
The right firm will help establish paternity, support orders, and visitation rights for the father, which in Missouri is considered in the children’s best interests. Generally, the courts try to implement equal rights in custody and visitation.
To avoid emotionally damaging intervention by social services or lengthy visits to the local court, it is best (in most cases) to agree to the same rights between the father and the mother.
The Carson Law Firm knows that you value your role as a parent, and you want what’s best for your child. Your child support settlement must be fair. We will work with you to develop reasonable expectations, build a plan, and then work on accomplishing the goal.
Contact us for an initial consultation about your case today!