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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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

Court clarifies confusing child support statute pertaining to college course requirements:

Posted in Child Support, Custody and Visitation, Divorce, Financial Issues, Legal Proceedings, Marriage and Family, Military Family Law, Modifications, Paternity
The Missouri statute that mandates the continuation of child support after age 18 if the child attends college was amended in 2007, and provisions were added that are somewhat contradictory. In a recent ruling by the Missouri Court of Appeals, the Court clarified the statute, as well what will cause a child to fail to meet… Continue Reading

Grossly disproportionate division of property and debts in a divorce proceeding reversed

Posted in Assets and Debts, Custody and Visitation, Discovery, Divorce, Financial Issues, Legal Proceedings, Legal Separation, Marriage and Family, military divorce, Military Family Law, Property Division, Retirement Plans and Division, Trials
In a recent ruling by the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Southern District, a division of property and debt where the Wife received 93% of the assets and 27% of the debts, and the Husband received 7% of the assets and 73% of the debt was reversed and remanded to the trial court for… Continue Reading

Recent Case: Termination Of Incarcerated Parent’s Rights Reversed

Posted in Child Abuse, Child Support, Custody and Visitation, Divorce, Financial Issues, Legal Separation, military divorce, Military Family Law, Modifications, Paternity
In a recent termination of parental rights case, the Court stated that statutory grounds of abandonment, neglect, and unfitness require clear, cogent, and convincing evidence. The Incarcerated parent’s diligent efforts at maintaining contact with child refuted such allegations. The “Child may suffer from Father’s absence, but getting in trouble before he knew about Child is no… Continue Reading

Full Custody, Joint Custody, Sole or Split? Or maybe 50/50. What do I really want and what exactly do these words mean in Missouri anyway?

Posted in Custody and Visitation, Divorce, Legal Separation, Marriage and Family, Modifications, Paternity
In cases involving children, the Court must, either by agreement or by trial, set up some sort of custodial arrangement for the kids involved. There are many options available, all of which fit under a just a few legally recognized categories. There are as many if not more “definitions” of custody floating around out there that don’t… Continue Reading

Parenting Plan that Vaguely Assigns Decision Making Responsibilities to Third Party Unenforceable.

Posted in Custody and Visitation, Divorce, Legal Proceedings, Legal Separation, Marriage and Family, Modifications, Paternity
In a recent ruling by the Missouri Court of Appeals, in a custody modification proceeding, the trial court’s modified parenting plan delegated the authority to make all medical, educational, and extracurricular decisions for one of the parents’ two children to her “team of doctors.” The Court held that these provisions of the plan are too… Continue Reading

Parent Relocation – Finding that Children Could Not Relocate Reversed

Posted in Custody and Visitation, Divorce, Modifications
In today’s highly mobile society, is is not uncommon at all for one parent to desire to relocate to another city or state.  While Courts recognize that a parent cannot realistically be confined to one geographic location, the greater the distance between the parents, the more difficult it can be to effectively exercise a joint… Continue Reading

Missouri Legislature passes Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) and eliminates requirement that social security numbers be included in family law pleadings and judgments

Posted in Child Abuse, Child Support, Custody and Visitation, Divorce, Legal Proceedings, Modifications, Paternity
Newly passed legislation will finally enact the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act as of August 28, 2009. Missouri was one of only three states that had not yet enacted the UCCJEA. This act will replace the current Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act (UCCJA). The act limits child custody jurisdiction to one state, avoids competing… Continue Reading

Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) wins approval in Missouri House

Posted in Custody and Visitation, Divorce
The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement act (UCCJEA) may finally win approval in this year’s legislative session. The measure is part of the Omnibus Judicial Bill (HB 187) that was perfected by a voice vote in the House this week. The House must approve the bill by a recorded vote before it can be… Continue Reading

Parent Must Show Change In Circumstances Before Best Interests of Child, Statutory Factors, in Sole Custody Switch

Posted in Custody and Visitation, Modifications
  Findings are not required under 452.375 (custody statute) where the trial court has determined that the party seeking to change a custody order has failed to satisfy the required burden of proof.  The required findings under 452.376 do not come into play in a modification proceeding under 452.410 (modification statute) unless the court has first found… Continue Reading

What California’s Same Sex Marriage Law Means to Missourians

Posted in Child Support, Custody and Visitation, Divorce, Legal Proceedings, Marriage and Family, Pre-Nuptial Agreements
As most people know, the California Supreme Court recently ruled that the state’s ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.  So what does that mean for Missourians?  In California, there were two statutes that said that a marriage is between a man and a woman, which was interpreted to prohibit same sex marriage.  The Supreme Court… Continue Reading

Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Act (House Bill 1358) and the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (House Bill 1360), failed to pass during final week of 2008 legislative session

Posted in Child Support, Custody and Visitation, Modifications
Two proposals by the Family Law Section of the Missouri Bar failed to pass in 2008.  House Bill 1358 proposed to enact the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Act.  Missouri remains one of only four jurisdictions that has not adopted the Act.  If adopted, the act would have changed the rules pertaining to initial child… Continue Reading

Recent Family Law Rulings From the Missouri Court Of Appeals

Posted in Child Support, Custody and Visitation, Domestic Abuse, Guardian Ad Litem, Legal Proceedings, Modifications
Circuit Court May Depart From Recommendations On Physical Custody Guardian ad litem and court-appointed therapist both recommended joint legal custody and supervised visitation for Father. Circuit Court followed the former but not the latter. When evidence supports an alternative award, “the trial court is not bound by the requests of any party as to custody… Continue Reading

A Dozen Ways Children of Divorce Get Caught In Their parents’ Conflict: Part 2 (5-8)

Posted in Custody and Visitation, Divorce, Marriage and Family
Every divorcing parent should make it their top priority to keep their children from getting caught in the middle of the conflict of their divorce.  The following is the second installment of tips and thoughts are from James Roberts, RSW, a licensed social worker  in Missouri and Kansas and family therapist in Kansas.  Mr. Roberts practices… Continue Reading

Case Law Update: Premature Investigation and Study Require Dismissal

Posted in Custody and Visitation
Premature Investigation And Study Require Dismissal Statute requires Circuit Court to order investigation and social service study after filing of petition to terminate parental rights. Circuit Court ordered investigation and social service study before filing of petition to terminate parental rights. Mother need show no prejudice for Court of Appeals to reverse judgment and remand… Continue Reading