The Family Law Firm of St. Louis
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.