Rolla Child Custody Attorneys

Knowledgeable Missouri law firm helping you with custody arrangements, disputes, and modifications

During a divorce, child custody and parenting plans are often highly contested issues. At Williams, Robinson, Rigler & Buschjost, P.C., our legal team has spent decades devoted to child custody, child support, and related family law matters. When you need help with child custody, our Rolla child custody attorneys deliver strong, responsive legal representation, giving you peace of mind during a stressful time.

How courts make decisions about child custody

To reduce conflict and create an environment for positive shared parenting, custody agreements made between parents are usually preferable to those imposed by the court. Typically, any reasonable plan that parents develop together is accepted and approved. However, if parents cannot arrive at an agreement concerning child custody, the court receives and considers evidence and makes a decision about what is in your child’s best interests. In Missouri, the courts may take a number of actions to determine what is right for a child, including the following:

  • Asking parents to enter mediation to try to resolve their custodial differences
  • Scheduling a formal hearing to gather evidence and hear testimony
  • Appointing a guardian ad litem to represent the child’s interests and offer evidence
  • Ordering a custody evaluation to investigate the family more comprehensively

When making a determination about custody and parenting, the court considers specific factors that affect your child’s future environment. Those factors include the wishes of the parents and the children, the need and right of children to have meaningful relationships with both parents, the interaction and behavior of the parents, and any abuse or mental health issues. Our Rolla family law attorneys have a reputation for skill both at the negotiating table and in the courtroom.

Trusted legal professionals working through custody decisions that impact your family

There are several forms of child custody arrangements you can make with your co-parent. We explain each option and how it would apply to your family, and help you craft a parenting plan that fits your situation.

When your custody arrangement is in the court’s hands, the judge considers the same factors to make a ruling, eventually deciding about the following types of parenting plans:

  • Legal custody — This gives you the right to make or participate in important decisions affecting your children’s health, education, and welfare. One parent may be awarded legal custody, or the responsibility may be shared.
  • Physical custody — This is the role of providing residential care for your child. Physical custody decisions specify where your child will live and for how long with each parent, among other concerns. Physical custody may be assigned entirely or primarily with one parent or may be equally divided.
  • Joint legal custody — Both parents are granted the right to make important decisions for their children.
  • Joint physical custody — In this arrangement, a child spends regular time living with each parent. Joint physical custody does not necessarily mean the child spends an equal amount of time with each parent, unless the court or the parents make that part of their parenting plan.
  • Sole legal or physical custody — In certain situations, either parent can agree to or be granted the right to be the sole legal or physical guardian of their child. This means he or she alone has the ability to make decisions on behalf of the child and is responsible for providing residential care. In this case, the co-parent may still be granted visitation, even without the right to physical custody.

Together with your co-parent, you can make customized parenting arrangements that suit your lifestyles and the needs of your children. Certain types of parenting plans may also require child support payments. Although a judge must sign off on your custody and parenting plan, the court prefers child custody and parenting arrangements agreed upon by the parents because they are more likely to be honored and less likely to be a future source of conflict.

When custody and parenting plans are made by the court, the judge cannot easily factor in the unique features of your household and lifestyle, such as specialized work schedules, activities, or personal interests.

Whether you are able to work with your co-parent after a divorce, or require the guidance of the court, our experienced family law team helps you create the best possible outcome for you and your family.

Seek guidance from a highly qualified child custody lawyer in Rolla

When you have questions about child custody or family law in Missouri, our attorneys can help. Williams, Robinson, Rigler & Buschjost, P.C. represents clients in Phelps, Pulaski, Dent, Texas, Crawford and Maries counties. Contact us online or call 573-458-5200 to schedule an appointment at our Rolla office.