Child Custody Lawyer – Jefferson City, MO
Child custody in Jefferson City, Missouri 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. When choosing a child custody lawyer, it is important to select an attorney who is experienced in family law and willing to fight for your right to see your child.
Attorney Scott Hamblin has a reputation for aggressive and thorough representation, and is 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 the child, such as a grandparent.
Working Hard for Mother’s and Father’s Rights
Child custody battles can be an emotionally devastating aspect of divorce. Almost every parent wants to fight for custody of their child. But, there are certain circumstances that may exist that may necessitate litigating a 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 person has been convicted of certain types of sexual offenses, or prohibits a parent from having custody of a child if the parent lives with someone who has been convicted of certain sexual offenses.
- 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.
Keeping Your Children’s Best Interests in Mind
Many children in a divorce have never experienced abuse. There are a number of other factors a court will consider in deciding a child custody schedule. The variety of circumstances is numerous. 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:
- The wishes of the child’s parents as to child custody;
- 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;
- The interaction of the child with parents, siblings, and any other person who may significantly affect the child’s best interests;
- Which parent is more likely to allow the child frequent, continuing and meaningful contact with the other parent;
- The child’s adjustment to home, school, and community;
- The mental and physical health of all individuals involved;
- The intention of either parent to relocate the child; and
- 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.
Contact a Jefferson City Child Custody Lawyer Today
Contact Scott Hamblin’s law office today by telephone at 573-821-4013. He is a child custody lawyer who will take the time to fully explain how courts determine 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 experienced attorneys and fair billing.