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Petition for third party custody sufficient

Missouri statute allows custody in persons not biologically related to a child but having a familial bond. The Petitioner for third party custody must rebut a presumption of parental fitness or prove that the child’s welfare requires custody in pet… Read More

Missouri Supreme Court Case: Dissolution of marriage involving non-biological child should be adjudicated with a separate paternity action

Recent Decision from the Missouri Supreme Court: Overview: A mother appeals a circuit court’s judgment awarding third-party custody of a child to her stepfather in the mother and stepfather’s proceeding to dissolve their marriage. In a decision w… Read More

Guardianship of children approved upon showing of unfitness and inability to parent

Recent Case from the Court of Appeals:   Letters of Guardianship Affirmed Mother appeals from the trial court’s judgment, which appointed Petitioners as guardians over two minor children. The trial court’s judgment found the children’s parents… Read More

Modification of Another State’s Custody Order Depends on The Other State Releasing Jurisdiction

Recent Case from the Court of Appeals:  States have continuing, exclusive jurisdiction over their custody judgments until released by the rendering state. The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act conditions authority of any State t… Read More

Grandparent Visitation must be done as a motion to modify if a divorce decree exists; visitation denied due to best interests of the child

Recent Case from the Missouri Court of Appeals: Father appeals from a judgment denying his motion to modify child support. Grandparents appeal from the same judgment which also denied their petition seeking grandparent visitation. The Grandmother did… Read More

Restrictions on visitation, and subsequent removal of them, both require a ruling on child’s best interest

Recent Case:  When a custody order contains restricted visitation, those restrictions must not be lifted, or even phased out, until a subsequent hearing to determine whether removal of the restrictions is in the child’s best interest. Evidence… Read More

New Missouri custody law seeks to maximize time with each parent, takes effect August 28

Governor Jay Nixon signed House bill 1550 into law on July 1, 2016, which takes effect August 28, 2016.  This law has been dubbed as an equal custody law, or 50/50 custody law, but that is not an entirely accurate description.  Rather than specific… Read More

Child’s refusal to visit other parent no excuse to violate custody order; Parent held in Contempt

Recent Missouri Case:     Parent responsible for violating the court order when child refuses to visit the other parent as required in the court ordered parenting plan Appellant D.R.P. (“Mother”) appeals the judgment of the Circuit Co… Read More

Guardian Ad Litem recommendation not binding; Custody findings required; Property division must be fair, not necessarily equal

Recent Ruling:  Court not required to follow Guardian Ad Litem Recommendation, Specific findings under the 8 statutory factors required in Judge tried case Father appeals from the trial court’s dissolution judgment as to child custody and property… Read More

Relocation approved, custody changed from joint custody to sole custody

Recent case:  Relocation must be in good faith and in children’s best interests; sole custody award appropriate when parents cannot jointly make decisions. In a recent case from the Missouri Supreme Court, a mother sought to modify a judgment diss… Read More

Mark A. Wortman

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Kansas City family law attorney Mark A. Wortman handles only divorce and family law matters, and practices only in the State of Missouri. Due to this specialty, Mark has handled thousands of Missouri divorce and family cases and has practiced extensi… Read More