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Missouri Court Awards Sol…

Missouri Court Awards Sole Custody to Man Who Believed He Was the Child's Father and Fulfilled that Role

A parent-child relationship, defined at the most basic level, is the relationship between a person and one of the people who contributed directly to their birth. There is far more to parenting than biology, though, and Missouri family law recognizes… Read More

Marijuana use not grounds for termination of parental rights

Recent Case: Marijuana use under the level of chemical dependency not grounds for termination of parental rights Father appeals from the judgment terminating his parental rights. Grounds for termination of parental rights require clear and convincing… 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

Inability to co-parent grounds for sole custody award; Guardian Ad Litem fees assessed to one party appropriate

Recent Case:       Parents’ inability to communicate, cooperate, and make shared decisions concerning their children’s welfare makes joint legal custody inappropriate. This case involved a motion to change custody from Mother to Father.  T… Read More

Setting aside of default judgment appropriate when good cause shown and meritorious defense; Ability to pay supports award of attorney's fees

Recent Case: JT Appellant vs. AT, Respondent  Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District – ED97995 Father appeals from the trial court’s judgment of November 8, 2011, dissolving his marriage with Mother and entering a child cust… Read More

Express allegations of abuse or neglect required for mandatory appointment of Guardian Ad Litem; Alternating weekend parenting plan is joint physical custody.

Recent case:  CJWQ vs. SJQ Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District – WD74342 Mother  appeals the circuit court’s judgment modifying the dissolution decree from her marriage to Father. Mother asserts that the court erred whe… Read More

"Sole physical custody" award that incorporates significant parenting time to the other parent is not sole custody by definition, but joint custody instead

Recent ruling: TC A Minor Child, by and through JC, Next Friend and JC, Individually v SI Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District – WD7455 Father appeals from a judgment entered in the Circuit Court of Clay County in an action to establis… Read More

Child Neglect Shown in recent Decision

In a recent decision by the Missouri Court of Appeals, clear, cogent and convincing evidence supported a finding of neglect in protecting the child, maintaining the household, and supervising the child.  "If a parent is unable to pay for al… Read More

Recent ruling: Termination of parental rights unsupported

The statute provides that, when considering whether to terminate parental rights, the circuit court must consider certain factors, as to which evidence was either absent; less than clear, cogent and convincing; or favored the parent.  Factor… Read More

Recent Family Law Rulings From the Missouri Court Of Appeals

Circuit Court May Depart From Recommendations On Physical Custody Guardian ad litem and court-appointed therapist both recommended joint legal custody and supervised visitation for Father. Circuit Court followed the former but not the latter. When ev… Read More