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Missouri, Illinois, Kansas, and Oklahoma Fathers' Rights & Divorce Law Blog

Advice for putting the kids first in divorce

Divorce and co-parenting can often be hard on children. If both mom and dad are always at each other's throats, a child can feel stuck in the middle and even criticized for loving both parents.

But, on a bright note, Dr. Christine Costello, who is a clinical psychologist, recently said she's seeing more and more divorced parents working together when going through a divorce, therefore, saving a lot of heartache for the couple's children.

A recent Baltimore Sun article looked at how parents can go through a divorce and child custody in a way that will help the children.

NBA player fighting for custody of two boys

NBA player Dwyane Wade, who plays for the Miami Heat, is taking a vow to not give up, only he's not referring to basketball. Rather he's talking about his ongoing custody battle.

Wade, who's made headlines during his free-agency decision a few months ago, has also been making headlines as he and his ex-wife and former high school sweetheart, Siohvaughn Funches. The two have been going through a brutal divorce and bitter child custody battle since 2007. Wade wants full custody of both the couple's children.

Men's rights in Missouri: A quick synopsis and some tips

Although many men work off the assumption that they will not get a fair shake in the legal system, there is actually no presumption in Missouri that a mother is automatically entitled to sole custody.  The tender years doctrine (a doctrine that provided that custody of children under 13-years of age should be awarded to mothers) has long been abolished in Missouri.

Instead, Missouri law has a presumption of joint custody. When the facts of a case call for it, courts can and do award joint or sole custody to men based on the principle of what is in the best interest of the child.  While in some instances courts seem to still follow the abolished tender years doctrine and lean toward the mother having custody, this is not the law.  Men today have a greater ability today obtain joint or sole custody than they have in the past if the facts call for it. 

Paternity cases not optional for unmarried fathers

With national data showing the out-of-wedlock birth rate somewhere around forty-percent, paternity cases are on the rise and almost as common as divorce these days.  When a child is born, but the parents were not married at the time of birth, and marriage was not an option for whatever reason, the appropriate case for a father to file to determine if he is dad and, if so, how child custody and support should work is by filing a paternity action filed in the circuit court in which the mother or alleged father live.

What if my ex wants to move with my kids?

If you get divorced in Missouri and you have children, or were part of a prior paternity case where a custody judgment was entered, the mother is to provide notice to you before she can move with your children. This is required by Missouri law according to 452.377 RSMo. This statute gives a procedure by which you must give notice that you are moving and what the notice must contain. This applies whether she is moving nearby within the same county or wants to relocate outside the State of Missouri. Temporary moves do not count. It is necessary for any permanent change of address, which essentially means a change of address for more than ninety days.

How is child support determined in Missouri?

Child support arises one of three ways in Missouri:

(1) Upon administrative action brought by either parent before the Missouri Department of Social Services; (2) As part of a Divorce; or (3) As part of a Petition for Declaration of Paternity.

Child support is usually a monthly payment from the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent for the benefit of the child. Payments can be made directly from one parent to another, or through the Family Support Payment Center in Jefferson City, Missouri, and may also be made by employer wage deduction. In some instances, the parties may agree that the non-custodial parent will pay child support directly to the custodial parent.

Can you change a child custody order?

After a final decree of divorce or other order establishing custody and/or visitation is filed with a court, it is not always the last word on custody. If a father wants to change an existing, he may file a motion requesting the court modify it. Usually, courts will modify an existing order only if the parent asking for the change can show a "substantial change in circumstances" that affects the welfare of a child.

What is a substantial change in circumstances?

Welcome to Our St. Louis, Missouri, Family Law Blog

At Stange Law Firm, LLC, we understand how to address your specific needs when it comes to aggressively defending your rights as a father - particularly in the areas of divorce, child custody, child support, visitation, paternity and other areas of family law. Contact our St. Louis Office at 314-963-4700, our St. Charles Office at 636-940-5900 or our Jefferson County (Arnold) Office at 636-296-3060 for more information on how we can help.

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Other Office Locations

  • Saint Louis County: 120 S. Central Ave., Suite 450, Clayton, MO 63105: Clayton Office
  • West County: 16024 Manchester Rd., Suite 103, Ellisville, MO 63011: Ellisville Office
  • Jackson County: 256 NE Tudor Rd., Lee's Summit, Missouri 64086: Lee's Summit Office
  • Jefferson County: 16 Municipal Drive, Suite C, Arnold, MO 63010: Arnold Office
  • St. Charles County: 2268 Bluestone Drive, St. Charles, MO 63303: St. Charles Office
  • Franklin County: 5 S. Oak St. Union, MO 63084: Union Office
  • Lincoln County: 20 Centerline Drive, Troy, Missouri 63379: Troy Office
  • Boone County: 1506 Chapel Hill Rd., Suite H, Columbia, MO 65203: Columbia Office
  • Greene County: 901 E. St. Louis, Suite 404, Springfield, Missouri 65806: Springfield, MO Office
  • St. Clair County: 115 Lincoln Place Ct., Ste. 101, Belleville, IL 62221: Belleville Office
  • Madison County: 25 Professional Park, Suite B, Maryville, Illinois 62062: Maryville Office
  • Sangamon County: 400 S. 9th St., Suite 100, Springfield, IL 62701: Springfield Office
  • McLean County: 1012 Ekstam Drive, Suite 4, Bloomington, IL 61704: Bloomington Office
  • Johnson County: 7300 West 110th Street, Suite 560, Overland Park, KS 62210: Overland Park Office
  • Sedgwick County: 2024 N. Woodlawn Street, Suite 407, Wichita, Kansas 67208: Wichita Office
  • Shawnee County: 800 SW Jackson Street, Suite 812, Topeka, Kansas 66612: Topeka Office
  • Tulsa County: 6660 S. Sheridan Road, Suite 240, Tulsa, Oklahoma 74133: Tulsa Office
  • Oklahoma County: 2601 NW Expressway, Suite 411 W, Oklahoma City, OK 73112: Oklahoma City Office
  • Monroe County: 116 W. Mill St., Waterloo, IL 62298 (by appt. only): Waterloo Office
  • St. Louis City: 100 S. 4th St., #549, St. Louis, MO 63102 (by appt. only): St. Louis Office
  • Jackson County: 2300 Main St., #948, Kansas City, MO 64108 (by appt. only): Kansas City Office

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