Cases involving children can be difficult on not only the parents, but the children especially. The good news is, Attorney Travis Strobach has the knowledge and experience to protect you and your children during this difficult time. Child custody includes two types of custody. The first being physical custody. Physical custody is defined as the parent(s) who have rights to have their child(ren) during specified periods of time. The second is legal custody. A parent with legal custody means they have the ability to make major decisions in the child(rens) lives. These decisions commonly include schooling, medical and religion. It is common for parents to share joint physical and joint custody. However, there are circumstances where one parent does not share these rights. Regardless, custody affects the amount of child support, influence and time you have with your children. Therefore, child custody is a very important issue and should never be taken lightly.
Child custody orders are difficult to change once they are granted by a court. Therefore, you need an attorney who will make sure the order is completed the right way, the first time. Custody orders are involved in two situations. The first is during a divorce (please refer to the divorce section of this website under "divorce involving children"). The second are cases involving two parents who were never married, but wish to protect their and their child(ren's) rights with a custody order. Call Travis Strobach today for your free consultation (314) 651-9360
However, if you have a custody order that needs to be changed there is good news. Child custody orders can be modified under what are called a substantial change in circumstances. These circumstances include, but are not limited to, a significant other a parent resides with, criminal charges or abuse allegations a parent is facing, the financial ability and residence of a parent and how old the children are.
Whether you are going through a divorce or have a child in common with a person you are not married to, child custody can be agreed to by both parents or it can be contested. Regardless of the type of situation you are facing, child custody cases require both parents to provide the following in both Missouri and Illinois:
- Financial affidavit, which includes your monthly gross and net income, last 3 years of tax returns, all anticipated living expenses including rent, mortgage, vehicles, loans, credit card debit, health insurance premiums and costs, personal expenses, child care costs if necessary and charitable contributions.
- A joint parenting plan is necessary. These plans include the physical and legal custody of the children, visitation schedules for both parents, the financial contributions (including child support), tax issues and child care.
- Child support orders are also required. This order looks at the best interest of the child(ren), not the parent paying or the parent receiving the support. The money paid in child support is to go to the children's needs and not the receiving parents needs. Child support is different between Missouri and Illinois. It is typically paid by the parent who is not the primary custodian of the child(ren). This means the parent who has less time with the child(ren) in a 2 week period than the other. In Missouri the child support number is determined by what is called a Form 14. This calculation is made after looking at several factors, including both parent's net income, who is paying for the children’s medical, vision and dental insurance, child care costs, the amount of overnight stays the non-custodial parent has with the children, amongst others factors. Illinois allows for a more definitive child support schedule. In Illinois, for 1 child support is 20% of the net income of the paying parent. For 2 children it is 28% and goes up to 50% of the parent's net income for up to 6 children or more. However, both states allow for adjustments either above or below the designated child support amount depending on the paying and custodial parent's circumstances.
- Parents must, according to Missouri and Illinois law attend a parenting class which lasts approximately 2 hours, are relatively easy to schedule and are held in multiple locations. These classes teach parents not only how to manage with a break up involving children, but how to help child(ren) cope with their parents no longer living together.
For more information about your case, call Attorney Travis Strobach for your free family law consultation today (314) 651-9360