Child custody and child support are extremely sensitive issues in a divorce, and rightly so. If you are getting a divorce and children are involved, here are three key considerations you need to make as you move through the process.
Many parents go into a child custody case looking to “win;” however, it’s important to remember that children are not really a “prize.” Missouri judges agree on this and no longer try to figure out who the better parent is in a custody case. Instead, a myriad of factors are considered and the ultimate decision is based on what is in the child’s best interests. Studies show that children benefit most when they have a continuing relationship with both of their parents. However, if the facts presented to the court show that a child will benefit more from one parent having sole custody, then you can trust that the court’s decision was formulated for what will help your child the most. Your job is to merely present the facts.
It is the opinion of the courts that child support is the responsibility of both parents. However, how much time the child spends with each parent is calculated into the amount of support that is paid. For example, if a child spends 80% of their time at one parent’s house, that parent will not be responsible for as much child support as the other parent, if any. If you are not the primary custodian of your child, you will likely be required to pay child support, and how much you’ll pay is based on your income. In some cases, both parents pay child support.
If your spouse refuses to adhere to the custody agreement decided on by the courts or does not pay child support in a timely manner, you can enforce the orders with the help of an experienced family law attorney. Failure to abide by court orders can result in financial penalties, or even jail time depending on the severity of the matter at hand. However, if the orders are no longer working for your situation, you may be able to have them modified.
If you are considering getting a divorce or you are in the midst of a divorce and you have children, it’s critical to get adequate legal support as soon as possible. Contact the Haefner Law Office, LLC today for a consultation to discuss your individual legal needs by calling (314) 200-6101.