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1190 Meramec Station Rd, Suite 203 First Bank Building
Ballwin, MO 63021
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West County Family Law
1190 Meramec Station Rd.
First Bank Bldg., Suite 203
Ballwin, MO 63021
Contact West County Family Law online or call us at 636-861-1111 to schedule your initial consultation with one of our attorneys
so that you can learn more about your rights and options.
West County Family Law
CALL FOR YOUR FREE
West County Family Law
Ballwin, Mo. Office
Experienced Service and Legal Counsel
Our goal at West County Family Law is to provide the highest quality of experience, service and legal counsel. With more than 65 years of
experience, attorneys Case & Rajnoha are capable of handling many types of legal matters. Founded in 1975, West County Family Law's
trademark has been prompt, personal attention. Our success has been our dedication to our clients and protecting their best interests and
rights. Our clients deserve to be well-represented, with quality legal services provided by a dedicated team of attorneys and paralegals. We
pride ourselves in our personal service by making sure we are available for our client throughout the legal process.
We're Here to Help You
We seek to help you through the legal problem confronting you. The first step is an easy one: call us for a free telephone consultation at
(636) 861-1111 to speak with our Ballwin family and criminal law attorneys. You can also contact us online. We accept Visa and MasterCard.
West County Family Law is located in Ballwin, Missouri, and serves the cities of St. Louis, Chesterfield, Fenton, Valley Park, Clayton, Creve
Coeur, Kirkwood, Des Peres, Webster Groves, Manchester, Eureka, Hillsboro, Maryland Heights, Town and Country, Ellisville, Frontenac,
Wildwood, Ladue and Crestwood. We also serve other communities in St. Louis County, Jefferson County, St. Charles County, West County
and South County.
West County Family Law Child CustodyAttorneys
Joel Case & Sally Rajnoha
CHILD CUSTODY & VISITATION
If a custody action is filed with the Court, the parties are usually required to participate in a mediation session before the case goes to trial.
While the parties are required to participate in the mediation, they are not required to come to an agreement on custody terms and the
mediator has no authority to impose a custody arrangement. Any agreement that the parties might reach in such a child custody mediation
session will become a court order.
"Joint legal custody" describes a common and presumptive arrangement where both parents are required to collaborate in decision making
involving major issues for the children. Typically, one parent will be designated as having primary physical custody, with the other parent
having secondary physical custody or visitation. There is no presumptive residential schedule, and courts welcome mutually agreeable
Missouri courts have a strong and distinct interest in making sure that children of divorce and separation have frequent and meaningful
contact with both parents. So the parents are both encouraged to continue sharing in the responsibilities and joys that come with raising a
There are a number of tools that modern courts use to achieve their goals. Those tools include: Shared Parental Responsibility, Sole Parental
Responsibility and Rotating Custody.
SHARED PARENTAL RESPONSIBILITY
This is the parenting arrangement that Missouri courts favor the most. One parent will be designated the primary residential parent. This is the
parent that the child lives with most of the time. The other parent (often called the nonresidential parent) spends time with the child as agreed
to by the parties or determined by the court.
But it is important to remember that each parent has an equal say when it comes to making important decisions that affect the children such as
healthcare, education, etc.
SOLE LEGAL RESPONSIBILITY
There is a presumption in Missouri that this type of arrangement is not in the best interests of children because one parent alone will be given
the exclusive right and responsibility to make the important decisions discussed above. Sole Legal Responsibility generally will not be awarded
unless the court believes that one of the parents is unfit to make decisions affecting the children.
JOINT PHYSICAL CUSTODY
Under this arrangement, a child spends a determined amount of time living with each parent at their respective homes. The parents work
together to make major decisions. This sort of arrangement is still somewhat rare but it is possible if a court believes it is in the best interests
of the child.
FACTORS THAT INFLUENCE CUSTODY & VISITATION
Missouri statutes lays out several helpful factors that courts can consider when they have to make often difficult decisions regarding custody of
and access to children. Among these factors are:
- The parent who is more likely to allow the child frequent and continuing contact with the non-custodial parent (the parties are
encouraged to facilitate the child's relationship with both parents)
- The love, affection, and other emotional ties existing between the parents and the child (the court must determine where the best
interests of the children lies and will act accordingly)
- The permanence, as a family unit, of the existing or proposed custodial home (all things being equal, courts generally favor a more
stable environment for children of divorce or separation)
- The moral fitness of the parents
- The mental and physical health of the parent
- Evidence of domestic violence or child abuse
- Any other factor that the court considers to be relevant
Courts will usually order that parental responsibility for children be shared by both parents unless there is a compelling reason to do otherwise.
How do I determine the best Custody & Visitation arrangement for my minor child?
If you need to determine child custody or visitation issues as you begin the dissolution of your partnership or marriage, are currently in the
process of determining child custody or visitation, or if you are having problems or issues with a court-ordered custody arrangement, we can