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Child Custody

Child Custody Attorney Advocates for Missouri Families

Kansas City lawyer provides assistance with creating a parenting plan

Representing clients throughout northwest Missouri, Howard L. Lotven, P.C. provides valuable assistance on child custody issues to parents who are divorcing or ending a nonmarital relationship. Drawing on more than 35 years of legal experience, I help parents negotiate effective parenting plans and stand up for them in court if a resolution cannot be reached through consensus. No matter what particular concerns you have, my firm will press for appropriate terms that address where the child will live, how key decisions will be made and what type of provisions will be put in place to preserve and strengthen parent-child bonds.    

How do Missouri courts decide who gets child custody?

Forming a fair, detailed parenting plan should be the top priority for mothers and fathers going through a divorce. I take the time to develop a thorough understanding of the specific challenges facing my clients and their children when negotiating terms relating to:

  • Legal custody — State law favors arrangements where parents share their rights and responsibilities jointly. This can usually be accomplished when addressing legal custody, which refers to the authority parents have to make important decisions regarding their child’s upbringing, education, medical treatment and legal rights.
  • Physical custody — Depending on where each parent lives, the location of the child’s school and other circumstances, it might be best for a young person to live primarily in one home. Whether you’re looking for sole physical custody or want to balance your child’s time between both residences, my firm will advocate for a result that promotes a supportive environment.
  • Parenting time — Even when a son or daughter resides mostly with one parent, a parenting time schedule must be created so that the party lacking physical custody can have frequent, meaningful contact with their child.

Deciding what is in a child’s best interests can be a very complicated task. Like every young person, each situation is unique and it seems as if a limitless number of factors can be used when crafting a custody order. However, most analyses include evaluations of parental fitness, each party’s relationship with their child and their willingness to cooperate on important matters. If the child is old enough, his or her preference can be taken into account, though the judge is able to overrule their wishes.

Accomplished advocate handles modification and relocation requests

Life goes on after a divorce is concluded and changes that occur might necessitate modifications to custody and visitation orders. If one parent seeks an adjustment, my firm works to reach a sensible compromise with a co-parent, but is prepared to advocate in court if a conflict exists over the proposed revision. Some of the most difficult cases involve situations where a parent with physical custody wishes to relocate to a new home. Whether the move is prompted by a job change, family illness or new relationship, a relocating party must give 60 days’ notice and provide detailed information to their co-parent before moving. When the other parent opposes a relocation or a different type of proposed modification, courts can look at any relevant information before rendering a decision.

Do grandparents have visitation rights in Missouri?

In certain circumstances, Missouri authorizes the establishment of visitation rights for the grandparents of a minor. When parents are married and living with their child, there is a rebuttable presumption that they will know what is best for their son or daughter. However, in the event of a death, divorce proceeding or a situation where the child has resided in the home of their grandparent(s) for at least six months, the court will consider a visitation order. As in other custody and visitation determinations, the judge examines the facts to determine what is in the child’s best interests. If you believe you have been wrongly denied the chance to visit with your grandchild, I will review the situation and advocate for a resolution that allows you to maintain this important relationship.

Contact an effective Kansas City child custody lawyer for a free consultation

Howard L. Lotven, P.C. in Kansas City assists Missouri clients with all types of child custody and visitation issues, including the modification and enforcement of existing parenting plans. For a free consultation, please call 816-295-6822 or contact me online.

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