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When a parent commits a crime, the kids can lose their time. Most Missouri parents would likely agree that when it comes to raising their children, they would do anything in their power to ensure the kids are safe and happy. In situations where parents maintain separate households, and there is a child custody arrangement, the actions of one parent can still affect the entire family. Sometimes a lapse in judgment on the part of a parent can lead to criminal charges, and parents should realize that this can directly affect the amount of time they get to spend with their children. 

There is more to raising children than providing food, clothing and shelter. Parents are also responsible for setting a good example for their children, and teaching them how to grow into productive members of society. When parents make bad choices, especially in the presence of their children, they may lose the right to have any sort of custody at all. 

Recently a Missouri man was arrested after he was pulled over driving with his son. Police claim that when they inspected the vehicle, they found large quantities of an illegal substance. They arrested the man, but in addition to drug charges, he was also charged with child abuse. The child was turned over to the care of the Department of Child Safety until investigators could contact the child's mother. 

When the actions of one parent become a danger to a child, it might make the other parent wonder if a formal modification of the child custody arrangement is in order. When the safety and well-being of a child is at stake, it can be difficult to know the best thing to do, especially because a child may enjoy spending time with the other parent, and not understand what has happened. In this situation, it can be helpful to speak with an experienced attorney. An attorney may be able to help the parent determine the best course of action for future child custody proceedings. 

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Seeing to the needs of their children maintains a top spot on the priority list of Missouri parents. Aside from the obvious needs of food, clothing and shelter, parents are also tasked with looking after the emotional and educational needs of their children. When it comes to child custody, the ability of a parent to ensure that their children receive a proper education can be called into question. 

It is not uncommon for parents who maintain separate households to have a child custody order put into place. During the school year, one parent is often designated as the custodial parent, with whom the children primarily live. The other parent may have a schedule with set visitation times during the week, on weekends, or breaks from school. 

Recently, one Missouri mother found herself facing charges of educational neglect after the local school district alerted law enforcement to the fact that her children had been absent approximately 50 percent of the school year. When a child misses that much school, schools are required to alert local authorities that handle child abuse concerns. Social services became involved, placing the family in a supervised probation program while the missed school time was investigated. 

The mother assured investigators that her children attended school when they were able, but a string of serious misfortunes had befallen their family that year, rendering them unable to attend on many days. She said that illness and loss of family members had taken a toll, and a frightening incident involving her ex-husband had caused the children anxiety so severe they were physically sick and had to miss school. The woman stated that while she was aware attendance was important, she did not feel comfortable forcing her children to attend while they were ill or suffering from anxiety. 

If a parent that has physical custody of the children feels they are in need of resources to make sure their children are not victims of educational neglect, or a noncustodial parent has reason to be concerned that their children are missing far too much school, they may be unsure of what action to take. Often, it can be beneficial to seek the aid of an attorney that is experienced in handling child custody proceedings. An attorney may be able to help a parent see to it that the client's children receive the best care possible, and do not suffer from neglect or abuse. 

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The state of Missouri is considering making changes to the way the courts handle child custody arrangements. Currently, courts usually award more child custody time to one parent, while the other has a set schedule for visitation. A new bill making it's way through the state legislature aims to even out the amount of time spent with a child between both parents. 

Those who endorse the bill cite research that supports the theory that children who spend equal time with both biological parents have a decreased risk for troubles like substance abuse, getting into legal trouble and depression. Supporters say that the changes will come at no cost for a parent, and by changing the way the law handles child custody, both parents will have an equal chance to raise their children and be an active part of their lives. The National Parents Organization has provided backing for the new legislation, and hopes that the bill will soon become Missouri law. 

The bill hopes to establish a new norm for child custody orders, where children would split their time between the homes of both biological parents. When possible, a child would spend one week with the mother, and the next with the father, alternating back and forth to ensure both parents have equal physical access to the child. Under current law, even parents with joint custody may not have equal parenting time. The purpose of the new legislation is to even out the time spent with each parent as much as possible, with the goal of making sure children are allowed to have meaningful relationships with both parents. 

When it comes to child custody issues, it is important for a parent to be sure they know their rights under the law. If a parent decides they would like to modify their child custody order, or have one put into place, it can be helpful to seek the help of an experienced attorney. An attorney may be able to help a parent understand his or her rights and responsibilities where the client's children are involved, and help make sure that any children involved have the best possible chance of maintaining a close and loving relationship with both parents. 

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Missouri parents are likely aware that when it comes to raising children, sometimes complications can arise. For parents who maintain separate households, it is common for the court to put a child support order into place. A child support order details the an amount of money typically to be paid from one parent to the other on behalf of the needs of any children they share. 

A child support order is a legally binding document, and failure to comply can result in criminal conviction. Fines, probation, or even jail time are possible consequences a violator could face. Recently, a Missouri newspaper published an overview of recent cases that made their way through the local court system. In addition to cases for many other serious crimes, several cases had stemmed from an individual's apparent nonpayment of court-ordered child support.

For those found guilty, strict penalties were imposed. Amounts of arrears ranged from less than $100 to thousands. When a parent is unwilling or unable to comply with a child support order, he or she is not allowed to simply stop making payments. If a parent feels that a substantial change in circumstances has rendered him or her unable to keep current, there are legal ways to go about having an order reviewed or changed. 

Parents should know that when it comes to child support compliance, the matter is taken very seriously by law enforcement. A conviction can be a mar on a person's criminal record, which can affect one's future negatively. If a parent is questioning his or hr ability to follow through with a child support order, or needs help enforcing an existing order, it can be useful to seek the guidance of an attorney experienced in family law. An attorney may be able to more clearly explain a person's unique circumstances, and may help ensure that any children involved are not forced to go without because of a parent's nonpayment.

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Pets are generally treated as beloved family members. The court systems, however, tend to see a pet as property, even in cases of disputed divorces. For some individuals in Missouri, custody of the family pet becomes a contentious issue when settling a divorce in family law court. With the exception of two states, courts will treat a pet as personal property, but attitudes about this issue are changing.  

Since pets are loved like family members, both parties in a divorce may have a strong desire to maintain a relationship with that pet. While some judges will take into account who spends the greater amount of time and money on the pet, sometimes, individuals can be ordered to sell the pet and split the proceeds. One party may be required to buy out the other party in order to receive the pet. 

For now, the best bet to determine pet custody is to independently reach an agreement with one's ex for either sharing time or determining ownership. When the situation reaches court, the pet issue will be handled like property and not necessarily on the best interests of the pet. Attitudes about pets are changing, however, and new laws may reflect more the rights and best interests of a pet versus the pet's monetary value. 

Individuals in Missouri go to family law courts in order to settle many types of issues. Issues such as divorce, prenuptial agreements, and yes, even pet custody will be handled through the court system. Since some of the issues can be complicated or emotionally trying, many individuals reach out for help. An experienced attorney can provide guidance on a number of family law issues. 

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At the end of a marriage, an individual may find the need to divide the shared property. What and how the marital assets will be divided are decided during the divorce process. Some assets, like IRAs, have special tax rules that apply. Individuals in Saint Charles, Missouri, who want to separate an IRA during divorce should heed the rules to avoid a tax penalty. 

The transfer of an individual's interest in an IRA to a former spouse under a divorce or separation instrument isn't taxable, per the IRS. While some plans, known as qualified plans, require a Qualified Domestic Relations Order to transfer the funds, an IRA does not require a QDRO. Funds can be transferred by the divorce decree by transferring the sum into a former spouse's IRA account or retitling the account to the former spouse. 

To qualify for the tax-free exchange, a legal divorce decree or separation agreement must exist. Informal arrangements do not qualify. Distributions taken from the IRA and awarded as cash do not qualify either, and they will be treated as a taxable event. Any distributions taken that do not qualify as a special exception will also be considered for an early distribution penalty. 

The division of marital assets, especially for those undergoing a high asset divorce, can become complicated. Individuals in Saint Charles, Missouri, considering a divorce may wish for some extra help to avoid tax penalties. An experienced and knowledgeable family law attorney may be able to offer useful guidance to inquisitive people. 

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Music fans in Missouri who follow the career of pop music star Britney Spears may recall the struggle the performer faced when her 2007 divorce made headline news. Since then, she has been trying to resolve various custody and child support issues that have arisen regarding her two children. The boys' father, Kevin Federline, is apparently not satisfied with current payment amounts.

Spears is said to be paying $25,000 monthly at this time as financial provisions, post-divorce, for her children. However, Federline may be asking for double that amount. Spears' father is her legal conservator and has been addressing the problem behind the scenes.

Some say Spears is quite concerned that her ex-husband is going to forbid her to see her children if she does not comply with his request for more child support. However, as many Missouri parents and others who have gone through similar situations can attest, no changes can be made to existing child support orders without the court's approval. There are several factors that may prompt a judge to modify an existing court order.

It is true that parents may devise their own plan, but they still must seek the court's approval before a plan is implemented. This goes for any modification, whether a parent wants a decrease or increase in payment amounts. Time will tell whether Spears and Federline can peacefully resolve their current child support problems or if the situation will lead to litigation. Any Missouri parent facing similar problems as these celebrities may protect his or her rights and children's best interests by reaching out for legal support.

Source: bravotv.com, "Could This Child Support Battle Allow Kevin Federline to Keep Kids From Britney Spears?", Tamara Palmer, May 24, 2018

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One woman's journey to successful pageant queen started with less than ideal beginnings. She lacked support from her parents and needed to do many things for herself for which children are not typically responsible. At 16, she was granted a minor emancipation and was able to take more control of her life. Individuals in Missouri may find the details of the woman's story inspiring. 

Although the woman says she harbors no resentment toward her parents, she was able to recognize that she wasn't getting the support she needed. Her emancipation request was granted. After that, she was able to legally sign contracts for herself and be considered an adult. She used her newfound freedom to graduate from high school early, join the Army National Guard and graduate from college. Now, she is a successful pageant queen. 

Emancipation laws vary by state, and they are typically rarely granted. Usually, an agreement is made between the child and the parents before the emancipation proceeding is completed. The orders are typically granted when it is in the child's best interest and the child has shown a reasonable ability to provide care for themselves. 

In Missouri, an individual may seek minor emancipation if his or her parents are not able to provide support to the child and that child is interested in taking legal responsibility for his or herself. Since the child will probably be required to demonstrate his or her ability to maintain themselves as an adult, he or she may require additional help. An experienced family law attorney can provide helpful guidance in this type of proceeding. 

Source: pressherald.com, "Facing adversity as a youth, Miss Maine USA took charge of her life on way to national pageant", Ray Routhier, May 21, 2018

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A man's bond with his child can be incredibly strong. For some dads, however, they may have a nagging feeling that the child they are raising is not their true biological child. Other men are willing to live with the uncertainty and try to keep a strong, stable presence in the child's life. However, for Missouri men, this attitude can come with long-term impacts, such as paying child support for a child who is not one's biological child.

There are shades of misattributed paternity, also known as paternity fraud. Some women knowingly deceive a man, understanding that the child is likely the product of an affair, but they choose to stay with their husband and keep the family together. Other women may truly have an incorrect belief about their child's parentage or simply be confused about the date of conception. 

Men who sign the birth certificate or otherwise take parental responsibility for a child without the proof of DNA testing take certain risks. One risk is being saddled with the financial responsibility for a child who does not belong to them. Another risk is forming a close bond with a child only to find out later, perhaps after a divorce, that one is not the father and lose custody rights. 

In order to prevent future problems, men are encouraged to request a DNA test before assuming parental responsibility. When claims of child support arise, a man will likely want to prove that he is the father before agreeing to long-term payments. In Missouri, parentage can affect both child support and child custody. Men who face paternity issues may wish to consult with an experienced family law attorney for more guidance on this issue. 

Source: t2conline.com, "Discover the Truth: The Best Strategy to Avoiding Paternity Fraud", May 14, 2018

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After a divorce, working together with an ex can be tough for some people. However, there are ways to adapt and make the process easier for everyone involved. By drafting a parenting plan and keeping some recommended tips in mind, an individual in Missouri can keep the children's best interests well provided for. 

At the end of a marriage, emotions can run high. It may be in everyone's best interests for the individuals to separate their emotions from the task at hand. People can choose to approach the co-parenting relationship like a business arrangement, and keep the focus on the children. Of course, a person may need to vent from time to time, but if he or she can avoid spewing negative emotions in front of the children, it may help to prevent future problems.

Another key area for co-parenting success is communication. By keeping communications transparent and as friendly as possible. It can be helpful to remember the golden rule and to communicate with the other parent as you would have them communicate with you. This way, you both will remain informed about important events in the child's life.

Co-parenting is possible after a divorce. Some people wish to set up a comprehensive parenting plan to ensure that both parties are aware of rights, responsibilities and expectations for the care of their children. Many people going through a divorce in Missouri may want extra help with this step. An experienced family law attorney will have the skill set needed to help a person draft a parenting plan that will keep the children's needs in the forefront. 

Source: kgwn.tv, "Youth Alternatives: Making co-parenting work", Kayla Dixon, April 26, 2018

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