Child custody is one of the most litigated issues in any divorce because there is rarely anything more important than a parent spending time with his or her child. The idea of spending every day caring and raising a child to now potentially seeing a child a few days a week is emotionally devastating, frustrating and infuriating.
Our experienced divorce lawyers and family law attorneys at Brydon, Swearengen & England P.C. in Jefferson City have a reputation for aggressive and thorough representation, and are prepared to fight for custody of your child.
Child custody can mean joint physical custody, joint legal custody, sole physical custody, sole legal custody, and third party custody. “Joint physical custody” means the parents have significant, but not necessarily equal, periods of time during which a child resides with each of the parents. “Joint legal custody” means that the parents share the decision-making rights, responsibilities, and authority relating to the health, education and welfare of the child. “Third-party custody” means that neither parent is awarded custody, but that some other person is awarded custody of a child such as a grandparent.
Courts are required to determine child custody in accordance with the best interests of the child; however, “best interests” of the child does not necessarily mean what the parents want or what the child wants, but rather all relevant factors affecting child custody specifically including:
(1) The wishes of the child’s parents as to child custody;
(2) The needs of the child for a frequent, continuing and meaningful relationship with both parents and the ability and willingness of parents to function as parents;
(3) The interaction of the child with parents, siblings, and any other person who may significantly affect the child’s best interests;
(4) Which parent is more likely to allow the child frequent, continuing and meaningful contact with the other parent;
(5) The child’s adjustment to home, school, and community;
(6) The mental and physical health of all individuals involved;
(7) The intention of either parent to relocate the child; and
(8) The wishes of a child.
The Missouri General Assembly has declared that it is the public policy of this state that frequent, continuing and meaningful contact with both parents after the parents have separated or dissolved their marriage is in the best interest of the child. Consequently, there has been a trend among courts in recent years to award parents joint physical child custody which has resulted in the parents sharing equal parenting time. Of course, any number of different circumstances may affect a child custody determination including a parent’s bond with a child, substance abuse, domestic violence, geographic distances, and work schedules. A parent’s infidelity can also affect the outcome of child custody.
Our divorce lawyers and family law attorneys will take the time to fully explain how courts determined child custody and will work with you to fight for child custody, explain the law relevant to your case and outline realistic expectations. You can expect a courteous and knowledgeable staff, access to experience attorneys and fair billing.
Our attorneys have a reputation for excellence, thorough preparation and innovation, have been invited to lecture at various speaking engagements sponsored by the Missouri Bar and other community organizations, have the experience you need to vigorously represent you in contested divorce trials involving complex property issues or fighting for child custody, and have diverse experience and complimentary talents to provide you attentive, efficient service.
From our offices at Brydon, Swearing & England P.C. in Jefferson City, our divorce attorneys and family law attorneys handle divorce, child custody, child support and family law matters for clients throughout Mid-Missouri, in Jefferson City, Columbia, Eldon, Linn, Fulton, Osage Beach, Lake Ozark, Camdenton, Versailles, Boonville, Mexico, Rolla, Sedalia, Hermann, Vienna, Waynesville, as well as the counties of Boone, Cole, Callaway, Cooper, Maries, Miller, Morgan, Moniteau, Osage, Camden, Gasconade, Audrain, Phelps, Pulaksi, Montgomery, and others.
Please contact Scott Hamblin or Erin Wiseman to discuss issues related to divorce, child custody, child support, child custody modifications, child support modifications, paternity actions, and all your family law matters.