Missouri Divorce & Family Law Blog

Missouri Divorce & Family Law Blog

for Missourians struggling with divorce and family law matters

Category Archives: Custody and Visitation

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60 day Notice required for relocation, not Motion to Modify

Posted in Child Custody and Visitation, Custody and Visitation, Divorce, Legal Proceedings, Modifications
Case Law Update:  Motion to Modify is not required to relocate, but 60 day notice must be given to the non-moving parent, who then may file an objection. Under Missouri law the address designated as the minor child’s primary residence for educational and mailing purposes is considered a sub-issue of custody. A change to the … Continue Reading

Child Support Credit for Overnights Mandatory

Posted in Child Support, Custody and Visitation, Divorce, Financial Issues, military divorce, Modifications
Recent case: A. Harris vs. G Harris, Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District – ED99276 Father appeals the trial court’s judgment and decree of dissolution of marriage. Father claims the trial court erred in calculating Father’s child support obligation because Father was entitled to an adjustment for overnight visitation. REVERSED AND REMANDED. The Supreme Court … Continue Reading

Modification of grandparent custody to Mother solely requires change in circumstances; best interest of child

Posted in Custody and Visitation, Divorce, Modifications
Recent case: Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District – ED99303 Grandparents appeal from the judgment of the trial court modifying a 2009 custody order changing an arrangement of joint custody between grandparents and Mother to an award of sole legal and physical custody to Mother. Grandparents argue the trial court erred because: (1) it incorrectly … Continue Reading

Missouri Divorce FAQ: What is an Uncontested Divorce in Missouri?

Posted in Alimony / Maintenance, Assets and Debts, Child Support, Custody and Visitation, Divorce, Financial Issues, Legal Proceedings
An uncontested divorce in Missouri is a divorce where both the Husband and the Wife are in complete agreement with all terms of the divorce before the case is filed.  In almost all cases, if the case can be resolved as an uncontested matter, there will be substantial savings of both time and money, and … Continue Reading

Relocation of a child subject to a Missouri custody order

Posted in Custody and Visitation, Legal Proceedings, Modifications
Missouri law governs the relocation of children after a custody order has been entered. "Relocation" is defined as "a change in the principal residence of a child for a period of ninety days or more, but does not include a temporary absence from the principal residence." A parent who intends to relocate must give written … Continue Reading

Setting aside of default judgment appropriate when good cause shown and meritorious defense; Ability to pay supports award of attorney’s fees

Posted in Assets and Debts, Child Support, Custody and Visitation, Divorce, Financial Issues, Guardian Ad Litem, Property Division
Recent Case: JT Appellant vs. AT, Respondent  Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District – ED97995 Father appeals from the trial court’s judgment of November 8, 2011, dissolving his marriage with Mother and entering a child custody and support award for their minor child ("Minor"). The trial court’s judgment granted joint physical custody to the parties, … Continue Reading

Parenting Plan must account for all custodial time; Court can determine child’s education when parents are unable to agree; Court has broad discretion in dividing property and division will be upheld unless Court abuses discretion

Posted in Assets and Debts, Custody and Visitation, Divorce, Financial Issues, Property Division
Recent Case: KO vs. MS Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District – WD74673 Wife appeals the judgment of the trial court entering a dissolution decree. In several points on appeal, she challenges the court’s determinations regarding child custody and property division issues. The Court Held:   (1) Because the parenting plan did not assign all … Continue Reading

Express allegations of abuse or neglect required for mandatory appointment of Guardian Ad Litem; Alternating weekend parenting plan is joint physical custody.

Posted in Child Abuse, Custody and Visitation, Divorce, Guardian Ad Litem, Modifications
Recent case:  CJWQ vs. SJQ Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District – WD74342 Mother  appeals the circuit court’s judgment modifying the dissolution decree from her marriage to Father. Mother asserts that the court erred when: (1) it failed to appoint a guardian ad litem pursuant to section 452.423, RSMo Cum. Supp. 2011, claiming that Mother … Continue Reading

No Jurisdiction to Modify Custody Decree under UCCJEA

Posted in Custody and Visitation, Legal Proceedings, Modifications
Recent Case: SHA, Respondent, vs. COA, Appellant. Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District – ED97993        Mother appeals from the judgment of the trial court dismissing her motion to modify a child custody order entered in the State of Illinois. Mother first asserts that her motion to modify sufficiently pleaded facts that, when … Continue Reading

“Sole physical custody” award that incorporates significant parenting time to the other parent is not sole custody by definition, but joint custody instead

Posted in Custody and Visitation, Divorce, Guardian Ad Litem, Legal Separation, Mediation and Alternative Dispute Resolution, military divorce, Military Family Law, Modifications, Paternity
Recent ruling: TC A Minor Child, by and through JC, Next Friend and JC, Individually v SI Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District – WD7455 Father appeals from a judgment entered in the Circuit Court of Clay County in an action to establish the paternity of his daughter, T.C.C. Father challenges the trial court’s decisions … Continue Reading

No Presumption that Child Should Bear the Last Name of One Parent Over the Other

Posted in Custody and Visitation, Legal Proceedings, Paternity
Recent Case: M.R.H., Respondent, vs. J.N.P., Appellant. Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District – ED97338 J.N.P. ("Mother"), biological mother of M.R.H. ("Child"), appeals from the judgment of the trial court following a paternity suit brought by M.R.H. ("Father") in the Circuit Court of St. Louis County. Mother argues the trial court erred in failing to … Continue Reading

Factors Considered by the Court when Making a Custody Determination

Posted in Custody and Visitation, Divorce, Domestic Abuse, Legal Proceedings, Legal Separation, Marriage and Family, Military Family Law, Modifications, Paternity, Spousal Abuse
In Missouri, there are guidelines that the Court must follow in making a child custody determination.  While all child custody determinations must be made in accordance with the best welfare and interests of the child, there is also a statutory and case law framework that guides the court in making the determination.  Note that when … Continue Reading

Courts Bulletin: Child Relocation

Posted in Custody and Visitation, Divorce, Legal Separation, Modifications, Paternity
Under § 452.377, RSMo, relocation of child’s residence requires strict compliance to statutorily required notice before strict compliance with time to file objection to relocation is required. Abraham v. Abraham, No. 31099 (Mo. App. S.D., October 26, 2011), Rahmeyer, J. A dissolution of marriage was granted to the parties in April 2006. In September 2010, … Continue Reading

Case Law Update: No Child Abandonment Without Knowledge

Posted in Adoption and Guardianship, Child Abuse, Custody and Visitation, Divorce, Domestic Abuse, Paternity
Recent Ruling: Termination of parental rights requires proof of statutory grounds by clear, convincing and cogent evidence, and proof of child’s best interest by a preponderance of the evidence. In an action to terminate parental rights, the statutory ground of abandonment means six pre-petition months of “a voluntary and intentional relinquishment of the custody of … Continue Reading

Missouri Supreme Court Increases Maximum Child Support Overnight Credit

Posted in Child Support, Custody and Visitation, Financial Issues, Military Family Law, Paternity
The Missouri Supreme Court has recently issued an order that, effective, January 1, 2012, increases the maximum allowable Form 14 child support overnight credit to 50%.  Specifically, on the Form 14, which is Missouri’s child support calculation formula, the non-custodial (paying) parent is given a credit for the number of overnights that parent spends with the … Continue Reading

Courts Bulletin: Recent developments in Missouri Family Law

Posted in Assets and Debts, Child Support, Custody and Visitation, Divorce, Financial Issues, Legal Proceedings, Legal Separation, Marriage and Family, Modifications, Paternity, Property Division
  Administrative child support orders are available for the support of all eligible children, including children of citizens of other countries. Lajeunesse v. State of Missouri Department of Social Services, No. 73477 (Mo. App. W.D., October 4, 2011), Martin, J. A child was born to a Russian citizen in West Virginia. Father was a Missouri … Continue Reading

Case Law Update: No Prejudice from Deficient Relocation Notice

Posted in Child Support, Custody and Visitation, Divorce, Modifications
Missouri statute requires that a parent relocating with a child give notice to the other parent. Receipt of notice starts the 30 day time limit to file a motion to bar the relocation. A deficient notice does not, alone, provide grounds to modify custody and visitation. In this case, the notice was deficient, but the … Continue Reading

Recent case: Forum under Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act and in personam jurisdiction

Posted in Assets and Debts, Child Support, Custody and Visitation, Divorce, Financial Issues, Legal Proceedings, Legal Separation, Property Division
www.courts.mo.gov/file.jspMissouri Constitution provides subject matter jurisdiction of circuit courts. The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act provides comity among states and determines which state is the most appropriate forum for seeking remedy. The Circuit court should make findings under those provisions. Rule and statute describe minimum contacts necessary to make a person subject to circuit court … Continue Reading

Who gets to claim the kids for federal and state income tax purposes?

Posted in Child Support, Custody and Visitation, Divorce, Financial Issues, Legal Separation, military divorce, Military Family Law, Paternity, Property Division
There are many ways that the income tax dependency for children in divorce can be handled, although most of them are not supported by the law.  If the parties are in agreement, then nearly any method of claiming the children can be used, including alternating years, splitting the deductions between the parents (in the case of multiple … Continue Reading

When Attorney Fees Can Be Awarded in Divorce/Family Litigation

Posted in Alimony / Maintenance, Assets and Debts, Custody and Visitation, Discovery, Divorce, Financial Issues, Legal Proceedings, military divorce, Military Family Law, Modifications, Paternity, Trials
While Missouri courts normally follow the “American Rule” regarding legal fees – that each party is responsible for his or her own costs – Missouri dissolution of Marriage statutes give the court the discretion to order one party to contribute to the other party’s fees. Specifically, Section 452.355.1 provides:   Unless otherwise indicated, the court from … Continue Reading

Child Neglect Shown in recent Decision

Posted in Adoption and Guardianship, Child Abuse, Child Support, Custody and Visitation, Divorce, Guardian Ad Litem, military divorce, Military Family Law, Modifications, Paternity
In a recent decision by the Missouri Court of Appeals, clear, cogent and convincing evidence supported a finding of neglect in protecting the child, maintaining the household, and supervising the child.  "If a parent is unable to pay for all of a child’s financial needs, he or she has a duty to provide as much … Continue Reading

Case Law Update: No contempt found when action was not intentional and contumacious – standards for custody modification

Posted in Custody and Visitation, Divorce, Financial Issues, Legal Proceedings, Modifications, Property Division
The Circuit court ordered re-financing of the house after divorce.  At the hearing on a subsequent contempt action, the circuit court found that failure to comply was not contemptuous because party did not have the financial ability to comply with the order. Record supports such finding.  The court stated that  "A party alleging contempt establishes … Continue Reading

Missouri no fault divorce – what it does and does not mean

Posted in Alimony / Maintenance, Assets and Debts, Child Support, Custody and Visitation, Divorce, Legal Proceedings, Marriage and Family, military divorce, Military Family Law, Property Division, Trials
Similar to other states, Missouri is a modified no-fault divorce state. However, there is some misconception out there about what this actually means for divorcing parties in Missouri. Modified no-fault divorce means that a party does not have to prove that their spouse committed some kind of misconduct, such as adultery, abandonment, financial, etc., in order for … Continue Reading

Recent ruling: Termination of parental rights unsupported

Posted in Child Abuse, Custody and Visitation, Domestic Abuse, Guardian Ad Litem, Legal Proceedings, Marriage and Family, Paternity
The statute provides that, when considering whether to terminate parental rights, the circuit court must consider certain factors, as to which evidence was either absent; less than clear, cogent and convincing; or favored the parent.  Factors including whether mental condition will improve does not mean intelligence.  Whatever else may be appropriate, judgment terminating parental rights … Continue Reading