Looking For An Experienced Child Custody Attorneys

As experienced St. Louis child custody attorneys can attest, state law doesn’t give mothers special favor, but actually gives both parents a fair opportunity at getting custody of their child. That being said, though, you shouldn’t assume that child custody actually is split evenly between the parents. Instead, it’s important for mothers to understand what St. Louis child custody law requires in order for them to be successful in court. Here’s how to do that.

Child Custody


First, it’s important to understand the difference between physical and legal custody. Physical custody refers to the ability to make decisions about the child’s welfare on your own; legal custody grants you the right to make those decisions as well, but only with the assistance of a licensed court-appointed lawyer. If you’re getting custody on your own, you have the physical custody of your child.


Now that you know what it means to have “physical custody,” let’s take a look at how St. Louis courts determine who gets the best chance to get custody. The Missouri Family Code stipulates how the court determines which parent gets the “permanent” custody of the child. To do this, the Circuit Court of Appeals in Missouri uses a formula that factors in the length of time the mother has stayed unemployed, the length of time she was living with the father, and the type of custodial environment the family is familiar with. Once the judges determine which of the two parents is better suited to care for the child, they award joint-physical custody to that parent.


Once the court decides that joint physical custody is the best option, the case will be sent to the Circuit Court of Appeals. There, the parent with the most legal custody is expected to have the best “permanent” custody arrangement. The court must also determine, in addition to the above factors, that each parent is competent enough to raise the children in a manner that satisfies the children’s interest. Again, the Circuit Court of Appeals uses a unique formula to do this. In its latest update, the court has stated that its previous formula, which considered only the mother being unavailable, was “discredited because it tended to favor mothers over fathers.” As such, the court has ordered an overhaul of the physical custody laws in Missouri, taking into consideration the paternity of the child, the welfare of the child, and the ability of each parent to provide the children with stability and predictability.


Parents can work together to establish a plan that meets their needs. There are two types of grandparents that can work together in creating a child custody agreement: biological grandparents, or natural parents (along with a partner if that is applicable), or step parents. With respect to natural parents, the parents must both live in the state with the legal authority to set law in the child’s life. If either parent has moved out of the state, the child must receive legal custody by one of the parents (with the permission of the other parent). The parties may also make oral agreements regarding the arrangements.


To aid the parents in making these decisions, a St. Louis family law attorney should be consulted. There are several resources on the internet where attorneys may locate one with a reputation for great customer service. A St. Louis family law lawyer should be chosen based on his/her experience, qualifications, and willingness to work with all parties in good-faith. If you are looking for one that can help you with your child custody issue, check out  www.stlouisdivorcelawyers.net/child-custody/. In addition, he/she should understand the complexities of child custody matters, as well as have relevant experience with the complexities of the family law courts in St. Louis. While the internet offers a wealth of resources, family law matters are not something that should be entered into lightly. Seek only the best representation possible and you will be happy you did.