Missouri Divorce & Family Law Blog

Missouri Divorce & Family Law Blog

for Missourians struggling with divorce and family law matters

Category Archives: Paternity

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New Missouri custody law seeks to maximize time with each parent, takes effect August 28

Posted in Child Custody and Visitation, Custody and Visitation, Divorce, Family Law, Modifications, Paternity
Governor Jay Nixon signed House bill 1550 into law on July 1, 2016, which takes effect August 28, 2016.  This law has been dubbed as an equal custody law, or 50/50 custody law, but that is not an entirely accurate description.  Rather than specifically stating that custody should be equal, the bill’s wording is to… Continue Reading

2 year statute of limitations applies to set aside a paternity and child support order, even if fraud exists.

Posted in Child Support, Family Law, Financial Issues, Paternity
Mother and Father (T.B.) had a baby in 2000.  Mother told T.B. he was the father, and he signed an affidavit acknowledging paternity.  The Family Support Division made an administrative determination that T.B. was the legal father, and ordered T.B. to pay child support for the child in February 2001. Sometime prior to June 2010,… Continue Reading

Missouri Case Law: Dispute Resolution Procedure Required in Parenting Plan

Posted in Financial Issues, Mediation and Alternative Dispute Resolution, Modifications, Paternity
Recent case: In Re The Matter of: C.H., by her Next Friend, C.H., and C.H., Individually, Petitioners/Respondents, v. C.W., Respondent/Appellant. Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District – ED98749 Mother appeals from the trial court’s Findings, Conclusions, Order and Judgment of paternity, custody and support entered March 24, 2012, as amended.   AFFIRMED IN PART and… Continue Reading

Electronic Domestic Case Filing Begins in March in Jackson County

Posted in Divorce, Legal Proceedings, Legal Separation, Modifications, Paternity
News Release from the Jackson County Circuit Court: Starting in March, there will be no more mad dashes to the courthouse by attorneys to file papers at the last minute. The Circuit Court in Jackson County will begin paperless electronic filing which is expected to save shoe leather for attorneys and public dollars for the… Continue Reading

Court must set aside child support order if requirements of paternity set-aside statute are met unless court finds and concludes that it is not in the best interests of the child to do so; General order for multiple children does not preclude compliance

Posted in Child Support, Modifications, Paternity
Missouri law allows for a man that has been named to be the father of the child, but is not biologically the father of the child, to petition the court to terminate a child support order that is two years old or less, and, among other things, extinguish the child support arrears. Missouri’s paternity set… Continue Reading

The Petitioner (or movant) in an action to set aside a previous order for paternity and child support must pay the costs of DNA testing.

Posted in Financial Issues, Modifications, Paternity
Recent Case: State of Missouri (FSD) v. [Family Court Commissioner] Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District – WD75408 State ex rel. State of Missouri, Department of Social Services, Family Support Division ("Relator") sought a permanent writ of prohibition to prevent enforcement of an order issued by “Family Court Judge” directing the State to advance the… 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

Awarding Tax Dependency Credit To Non Custodial Parent Not Prejudicial When Custodial Parent Has No Income

Posted in Child Support, Divorce, Financial Issues, Legal Separation, military divorce, Modifications, Paternity
New Case Law: CB v. DB Missouri Court of Appeals, Southern District – SD31614 Notwithstanding the fact that the Missouri case law generally states that tax benefits must go to the custodial spouse unless the trial court expressly finds it unjust or inappropriate to do so, our western district has held that noncompliance with Form… 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

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

Less than 1 year before paternity “disestablishment” statute of limitations goes into effect

Posted in Child Support, Modifications, Paternity
Missouri’s paternity disestablishment law, enacted in August 2009, allows men who have been declared the father of a child by a court or the Division of Family Services to set aside (overrule) the finding of paternity and terminate child support and child support arrearages. Under this law, alleged fathers wishing to file such an action were… 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

If you pay child support per a Missouri judicial or administrative order and your income is reduced or lost – A Motion to Modify is required.

Posted in Child Support, Divorce, Marriage and Family, military divorce, Military Family Law, Modifications, Paternity, Trials
In today’s turbulent economic climate, where job losses or reductions in income are frequent, it is critical to immediately deal with a child support order upon any significant change in income. Failure to act quickly can lead to an even greater financial disaster.  Here’s why: In Missouri, a child support order, regardless of whether it is… Continue Reading

Temporary breaks in post-secondary vocational education do not violate the continuous enrollment requirement of Missouri’s post-secondary education child support law.

Posted in Child Support, Child Support and Alimony, Divorce, Family Law, Paternity
Child support in Missouri can continue after the child turns 18, and until 21, if the child is attending a post high school education program, provided that several requirements are met.  (See RSMo section 452.340.5 below in the extended post).   One such requirement is that the child be continuously enrolled in the education program. A recent ruling from… 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