Springfield Divorce Attorneys Resolve Child Custody and Support Disputes
Experienced Missouri lawyers assert your parental rights
Child custody is often the most contentious issue in a divorce. As a parent, you are legitimately concerned about maintaining healthy, loving relationships with your children. During divorce, while emotions are still raw, it’s easy to imagine how your ex-spouse might deliberately or subconsciously behave in a way that undermines your relationships with your kids. This is where an experienced family law attorney can be especially helpful. At Lowther Johnson Attorneys at Law, LLC, we help you see the long view, set reasonable goals, and pursue a workable parenting plan that protects your parental rights while advancing your children’s best interests.
Parenting plans designed with your family in mind
We realize that no two families are alike, so we understand that your family needs a parenting plan designed specifically for your lifestyle, priorities and values. We help clients negotiate or litigate these plans with different custody options, including:
- Joint physical and legal custody — This option is available for parents who cooperate well and are each able to maintain a residence suitable for the children. Each parent must also have schedules flexible enough so they can be the primary caregiver for days at a time.
- Joint physical with sole legal custody — This custody arrangement works for parents who can maintain a residence suitable for the children and act as primary caregiver, but due to a child’s special needs and one parent’s expertise, that parent is better equipped to make decisions for the child’s health and welfare.
- Joint legal custody with sole physical custody — This arrangement works well for parents who are both responsible and engaged in their children’s lives, but career obligations or a lack of financial resources prevent one parent from acting as the primary caregiver. The noncustodial parent is allowed frequent parenting time (visitation).
- Sole custody to one parent with visitation — Here, one parent acts as primary caregiver and decision-maker for the children, while the other is allowed parenting time. This situation is necessary when one parent is not suited to being a caregiver and is not sufficiently engaged with the children, or lacks the mature judgment to make decisions for their health and welfare.
- Sole custody to one parent with restricted visitation — In situations where unsupervised time with one parent might be detrimental to the child, the court can order visits to be supervised until it is clear that the parent has reformed certain behavior and/or is not a threat to the child’s well-being.
In most cases, a negotiated or mediated custody settlement is preferred, because the parents then “own” the parenting plan. However, situations where contact with a parent may be harmful require aggressive litigation to protect the child.
Capable management of child support issues
Missouri uses an income-share model for determining basic child support, which takes into account the parents’ net income. The task of a family law attorney is to use the discovery process to compel full financial disclosure to ensure a transparent process. We also help couples address issues beyond basic child support, such as private school tuition, health insurance, special needs expenses, and the cost of enrichment activities, such as sports, music and the arts. Child support is an issue you will almost certainly have to revisit after your divorce is finalized, due to the changing needs of your children or a change in your financial situation. When that happens, we are here to assist with support modifications.
Get reliable assistance with child custody issues from our Springfield attorneys
Lowther Johnson Attorneys at Law, LLC has served parents in Springfield and other southwestern Missouri communities for more than 40 years. Our personalized divorce services protect your parental rights and address your concerns for your children’s welfare. For trustworthy legal counsel, call 417-866-7777 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.