Kansas City Child Custody Attorneys

Law In Kansas City
721 NE 76th St.,
Kansas City, MO 64118

Call for a consultation.
816-479-2700

The most common questions asked to me are (1) How does the Court determine custody of the minor child? and (2) What is in a Parenting Plan?

First, let me fill you in on the buzz words for the parenting plan itself. There are more than one type of custody. Most parents end up with Joint Legal and Joint Physical Custody. The other possibility is Sole Legal and Sole Physical Custody. Unless there is a reason why a parent is unfit or unavailable, then it will normally be deemed to be in the best interest of the child for the parents to be awarded Joint Custody. If there is an issue of fitness, then the Court will likely appoint a Guardian Ad Litem which is an attorney for the child.

Joint Legal and Joint Physical Custody

For most parents, having equal rights in making decisions for the minor child is considered to be what is best for the child. Both Parties need to work together to make decisions like where the child goes to school, the activities of the child, medical choices, the religion of the child, and other important choices on how the child is raised. The major choice is which address the child will have for educational and mailing purposes. The next step is to come up with a parenting plan which sets out the specifics for the parenting time.

So how does the court make a decision on the educational address for the child? The court considers the following factors in making decisions on custody:

  • Child's age
  • Child's sex
  • Child's physical and mental health
  • Parent's physical and mental health
  • Parent's lifestyle
  • Where the child resides at the time the action is filed
  • Parent's ability to provide food, clothing, shelter, medical care
  • Child's contacts with the community such as school, church, extra-curricular activities
  • Ability of the Child to have contact with extended family
  • Quality of the child's education
  • Child's medical needs
  • Impact of changing the status quo of the minor child

KC Child Custody Lawyer

Your child is more important than anything.
Make sure you choose an attorney who cares
about you and your child.

One common misconception is that the child can pick which parent they want as their educational address. This is generally not the case. Judges do not like to put the child in the position of chosing between parents. The child's wishes could be a factor the Judge considers; however, unless the child is a teenager, it is not likely that much of an influence unless there are other issues surrounding the child's choice.

What about Child Support?

In Missouri, the Court uses a chart of child support called a Form 14. Both income of the parties is plugged in, as are the costs of childcare, costs for medical insurance, and the non-custodial parent receives a credit for overnight visitation. If you have another child support order for a different child or have a child living in your home that you support that is not part of the action, you can include a credit. There are some other possible expenses that are included in a minority of cases. Talk to your lawyer to discuss your circumstances.

Form 14

Father's Rights

Both parents, as long as they are on the birth certificate, have equal rights to the child. If you are not married, then parenting issues are dealt with as a Paternity case.

Traditionally, the child is placed with the mother and the father is able to have visitation. However, fathers have become more and more involved in raising the child and doing the day to day activities such as bathing, feeding, helping with homework, and other activities that have traditionally been a mother's role in parenting. Click here for more information on father's rights.

Here are some blogs and websites to give you support and information--

www.singledad.com

http://singledadlife.com/

Parenting Plans

The main components of a parenting plan is weekday, weekend, holiday and summer visitation. You will also deal with issues such as transportation, telephone access, extra-curricular activities and expenses, medical out of pocket expenses, religion, schools, notification of issues to other party, Whenever you are thinking about your parenting plan, you should fast forward five (5) years and think what issues you may have as your child gets older. Anything that is important to you we can include in the plan. Remember that this plan should really be about your child and not about you. What is going to work the best for the children. Most courts will suggest or require the parties to attend mediation to work out their parenting issues. Mediation is normally with someone who is an attorney that will help foster negotiation of the parties to come up with an agreement everyone agrees is in the best interest of the child. The key to mediation is flexibility. There will be things that are deal breakers for you and other issues that are not that important for you. For some, overnight visitation during the week is a deal breaker. Other people are able to do equal parenting time.

Mediation referrals are available.

More resources:

http://www.crosswalk.com/family/parenting/single-parents/

http://www.drphil.com/articles/article/39

http://www.helpguide.org/mental/children_divorce.htm


Missouri child support

Kansas City Child Custody Attoenry

Law In Kansas City
721 NE 76th
Kansas City , MO 64118

816-479-2700



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carriesue@lawinkc.com