St. Louis Custody Evaluation Attorney
How to Prepare for a Custody Evaluation
An Awareness Guide for Spouses Going Through a Divorce
As a spouse going through divorce, you face several obstacles – most notably, getting through the legal process.
And that’s where this guide will help you. As you can imagine, starting the proceedings unprepared or uneducated about your options is a mistake.
After you read the following information, you’ll be able to make informed, intelligent decisions about your divorce. My experience as a lawyer practicing exclusively in family law and domestic relations gives me unique insight into your situation. So I encourage you to also use me a source to calm your concerns.
I’m happy to answer your questions and evaluate your situation – without any obligation. Call me today at (314) 322-8515.
Of course, I know many people have reservations about working with lawyers. That’s why my practice is dedicated to educating prospects and clients.
After all, when you know what goes on behind the divorce process and understand why certain events happen, you can better project problems and create a more predictable outcome.
Tonya D. Page
Your preparation for custody litigation has a critical role in getting the outcome you desire.
Of course, you likely want the best for your children, as does the state of Missouri. So, by law, judges evaluate the following eight factors when determining the best placement:
- The parents’ wishes and any written parenting plan they’ve agreed on;
- The children’s wishes – if they are in the determined age range to decide;
- Each parents’ capability and compliance to serve as a responsible parent, and the children’s need for an important relationship with both;
- The children’s relationships with siblings or others who have the ability to influence their well being and quality of life;
- Which parent will most likely allow the other to have a meaningful relationship with the children;
- The children’s ability to adjust to a home, school and community;
- The health (both physical and mental) of all who are involved; and
- If either parent is planning on moving. (By law, you cannot leave Missouri without consent of the other parent or the court.)
Judges are not permitted to grant sole custody based only on one parent’s gender, income, or race.
Keep in mind, you will likely get at least some custody unless you committed domestic violence or abuse, have a substance abuse problem, or are in prison. Parents with these problems may be granted supervised visitation.
Custody is categorized two ways:
- Physical custody describes who has the children with them. When children are in a parent’s physical custody, he or she is responsible for their food, shelter, and supervision.
- Legal custody is your legal responsibility and decision-making right for children. This gives you access and decision-making power over your child’s medical records, school performance, and related information.
During joint physical custody, each parent has significant time with the children – although not necessarily an equal amount of time. Joint legal custody allows both parents equal access to children’s information and all legal decisions concerning the children must be made together.
Although it’s rare for one parent to have sole physical custody, it’s even more unlikely for one parent to have sole legal custody. However, sole legal custody may be granted where one parent is mentally ill or incapable of making decisions or where the parties are not able to effectively communicate to make decisions for the children or do not share common beliefs.
When a court grants sole legal custody, reversing the decision for the other parent is difficult. So make sure you have quality legal representation from the beginning of your case.
Your lawyer can help you…
- Create a parenting plan for submission to the court,
- Make decisions regarding specific provisions to include in the parenting plan, and
- Determine which provisions to fight for.
If your case involves allegations of abuse or neglect, the court will appoint a guardian ad litem. This person (typically an attorney) is appointed by the court to conduct an investigation and represent children’s best interests. In these instances, it’s critical you communicate all facts about your situation to your lawyer.
Remember, child custody is based largely on how well each parent presents him- or herself to the court or during mediation. Situations can get complex. Don’t hesitate to rely on an experienced St. Louis divorce attorney to fight for your rights and guide you through the process. When going through a divorce, even good parents make stupid mistakes that can hurt their chances of gaining custody.
Schedule your free divorce assessment today by calling (314) 322-8515.