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Child Custody Lawyer Jefferson City

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. Scott Hamblin has spent more than twenty years fighting for the rights of his clients in Jefferson City and throughout courts in mid-Missouri. When choosing a lawyer, it is important to select an attorney who is experienced in family law matters willing to figure out your rights. Scott has a reputation for aggressive and thorough representation.

Child Abuse: Emotional, Physical Or Sexual Abuse Of A Child In Jefferson City And Mid-Missouri

Almost every parent is willing to fight for custody of their child. But, there are some circumstances that may exist that may necessitate litigating a child custody battle:

  • Children may have been subject to abuse –emotional, physical and/or sexual abuse. Missouri law prohibits a court from awarding a parent custody of a child if the parent, or someone living with that parent, has been convicted of certain types of physical abuse or sexual offense committed against a child. The child does not have to be a child of the parties for this prohibition to apply.
  • In other instances, a court may exercise its discretion in not awarding a parent custody of a child if a parent has been convicted of other sexual-type offenses. Children may have also been victims of physical abuse, which may also prevent a court from allowing a parent to have custody, or at least unsupervised custody. Courts exist to help protect children.
  • Children may have also suffered emotional abuse, which may prevent a court from awarding a parent custody of a child. Emotional abuse, however, is sometimes more difficult to prove that the physical injuries that can accompany physical or sexual abuse.
  • Emotional abuse may stem from neglect, or might be a product of a parent suffering from alcoholism or sexual abuse.

Best Interest Of A Child: Child Custody And Family Law Attorneys Litigating The Best Interest Of A Child In Jefferson City, Missouri And Mid-Missouri

Many children in a divorce have never experienced abuse. But, there are a number of other factors a court will consider in deciding a child custody schedule besides abuse. The circumstances that a court may consider in deciding child custody are numerous. Courts are required to determine child custody in accordance with the best interests of the child; however, the “best interest” of the child does not necessarily mean what parents want or what the child wants, but rather all relevant factors affecting child custody. Courts are required to follow the laws in Missouri, even if though laws sometimes seem to contradict common sense. It’s not enough for a parent to want custody; wanting custody is only one factor for a court to consider in deciding child custody. The factors that a court is required to consider in awarding child custody are set forth below:

    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.

Types Of Child Custody: Family Law Attorneys Litigating  Child Custody In Jefferson City, Missouri & Mid-Missouri

Scott has litigated numerous child custody cases in over twenty years practicing family law. There are different types of child custody that parents may agree to or that a judge can award after hearing evidence at a trial. Child custody can mean joint physical custody, joint legal custody, sole physical custody, sole legal custody, and third-party custody. Some of those terms are more specifically defined as follows:

“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.

Third-Party Child Custody

There may be a number of reasons why a court may determine that a child is served by awarding third-party custody to someone other than the biological parents. There are circumstances that happen in life where the parents are unwilling to be parents. The parents may be more interested in doing other things than caring for a child. Parents may be unable to care for a child because of their addictions, substance abuse, financial limitations, or simply immaturity. Other parents may suffer from a disability or incapacity.

A person seeking third-party custody must be a party to a divorce. A court cannot award a person third-party custody unless they are a party. There are a number of considerations in determining whether or not to pursue third-party custody. We have the experience to assist you in evaluating pursuing a claim for third-party custody and then pursuing that action. There are also considerations for parents in a divorce when someone else is seeking third-party custody of their child.

Modification of Child Custody Rights and Visitation Rights

Divorce decrees reflect the needs of both parties and their shared children at the current time in their lives. As the months and years pass, life can change. When the life changes are significant, they may result in one party requesting a modification to an existing court order. Modifications can be made to orders that include child support, child custody, spousal maintenance and visitation.

Would a modification of child custody or visitation be in the best interests of the child or children? A modification may involve the custodial parent relocating with the children, changes to the visitation schedule or even changes in primary custody.

We Handle Child Custody & Domestic Relations Cases In Jefferson City & Mid-Missouri

We handle child custody cases whether in a divorce, guardianship or adoption. Scott is a partner with the law firm of Brydon Swearengen & England. Our lawyers have more than 200 years of combined legal experience. We utilize all the legal experience of our lawyers to achieve the best results for our clients.

Contact Our Office For Divorce & Family Law Attorneys In Jefferson City, Missouri & Mid-Missouri

Call our office today to schedule an appointment to discuss your divorce, child custody or family law case. You can call us at (573) 821-4013 to schedule your appointment.

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Scott will keep you up to date on all important developments in your case. When you need to get in touch with him, he will be there to answer your call or return it promptly.

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Scott A. Hamblin

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