Child Custody Attorneys With Exceptional Experience
The most important aspect of divorce is its impact on the children. No parents want their children to suffer negative consequences or difficult transitions through divorce or separation. Yet keeping a strong relationship with your children – and remaining involved in their lives – is likely your foremost goal.
At Grant, Miller & Smith, LLC, we understand the stress you feel when you contemplate your children’s future and your place in it. Our attorneys tirelessly advocate for our clients who are involved in custody negotiations and disputes in the St. Louis metro. For parents, stepparents, grandparents and other concerned family members, we have provided solace and skilled legal counsel during challenging child custody matters.
Struggling to defend your rights in a custody or visitation dispute? Consult with a seasoned attorney at our firm and begin working toward a positive resolution.
A Strong Background In Understanding Children’s Needs
Our legal team understands the complexities of child custody. Attorney William Grant has more than 35 years of experience in child custody and juvenile legal issues. Both of these areas revolve around understanding children’s needs and best interests. Mr. Grant’s experience as a guardian ad litem (court-appointed representative for children) enhances his perspective on Missouri custody law and procedures. Likewise, attorney Henry Miller has extensive experience handling complex child custody issues as both an advocate and guardian ad litem.
As a recipient of the Guardian Ad Litem of the Year Award through the St. Louis Family Court, attorney William Grant possesses an extraordinary level of experience handling custody-related issues from all angles. When you hire our firm to handle your child custody matter or another family law concern, you gain access to highly esteemed attorneys who are ready to assert your parenting rights throughout your divorce or modification case.
Understanding Custody Arrangements
Missouri family law recognizes two aspects of child custody – legal and physical. Legal custody refers to parental decision-making authority regarding major decisions in the children’s lives. Physical custody refers to actually living and spending time with the children.
Missouri law starts with a presumption in favor of joint legal and physical custody. However, certain situations may call for sole custody. You can rely on our attorneys to provide detailed guidance on how the law affects your custody and child support options.
Designing A Parenting Plan That Encourages Stability
In Missouri, parties involved in custody cases must create a parenting plan before the family court judge will approve the custody agreement. Plans should include information regarding:
- Schedules that detail how the parents will divide physical custody during the week, on weekends, on special holidays and during vacations
- Each parent’s decision-making rights
- Preferred method of communication between parents
- Strategies for resolving future conflicts over custody issues
- Each parent’s financial responsibility for medical bills, education, child care and other basic expenses
Our attorneys know how to design parenting plans that promote stability for children transitioning from a single household to a two-household life. We customize our plans to suit your children’s needs and your concerns. Having represented countless families in the area, our attorneys are able to identify areas of conflict and design strategies for avoiding disputes, which can save you time and money in the long run.
Grandparents’ Rights, Third-Party Custody And Same-Sex Couples
In addition to representing biological parents, our firm’s attorneys handle custody-related issues for grandparents and other third parties who may be entitled to visitation rights. They are also intimately familiar with the unique custody challenges that same-sex couples face.
Answering Your Custody Questions
We know that it can be overwhelming to navigate the legal process to secure custody or visitation rights. We want to help you make smart decisions before you take legal action, either in negotiations or in court. Please read our answers below to the frequently asked custody questions that we hear during client consultations.
Do family court judges usually award physical and legal custody to mothers?
In the past, judges may have been more inclined to grant mothers full custody of their children over fathers. Today this is not the case. In Missouri, judges are required to assess evidence presented before determining which custody agreement would serve the best interest of the child. As a result, it’s critical to present a compelling argument in court if you are seeking full custody of your children. Don’t assume that your role as father or mother will determine the outcome of your custody dispute.
If my child’s parent refuses to pay child support, can I withhold access to my child until I receive the money I am owed?
No. It may seem unjust that your child’s parent can still see your child without paying child support. You are required to follow the terms of your custody and visitation agreement. If you violate the terms of your agreement, you could be penalized by the court.
Our attorneys can help you enforce the terms of your child support order, allowing you to protect your parenting rights and hold your child’s parent financially accountable.
Is it really necessary to have the court approve a custody modification when my child’s parent and I have already agreed to adjust them?
Yes. When an unforeseen set of circumstances changes your life, you should have the court approve a custody modification. You and your child’s parent may agree to follow new custody guidelines now. However, you will not be able to ask the court to intervene if your child’s parent decides to violate the terms in the future. Receiving a court order for these changes will protect your interests should a custody conflict arise later on.
You should never leave the all-important issue of child custody in novice hands. Instead, contact the experienced lawyers at Grant, Miller & Smith, LLC, at 314-492-8878 or through this online form for a consultation to discuss your situation.