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FAMILY LAW

Whether it is a divorce, child custody, adoption, child support, order of protection, or another family law matter, Reece Family Law,LLC, is ready to represent you.  Contact us today for help (417) 881-0881.
 

Family  Law includes, but not limited to the following issues:

  • Divorce
  • Paternity
  • Custody
  • Visitation
  • DNA Testing
  • Birth Certificate
  • Joint / Sole / Physical / Legal / Residential / Third Party Custody
  • Modification
  • Legal Separation
  • Child Support
  • Maintenance / Alimony / Spousal Support
  • Property / Asset Division
  • Debt / Liability Division
  • Taxes
  • Adoptions
  • Family Access / Contempt
  • Grandparent Rights
  • Name Change
  • Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDRO’s)
  • Adult & Child Orders of Protection, Ex-Parte


Missouri Revised Statutes - Chapter 451 - 455 – Domestic Relations

Read about the Missouri Domestic Relations Statutes to better understand your rights.


Missouri Revised Statutes - Chapter 452 – Dissolution of Marriage, Divorce, Alimony and Separate Maintenance

DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE

Revised Missouri Statute 452.305 in part states:   452.305. Judgment of dissolution, grounds for — legal separation, when — judgments to contain Social Security numbers. — 1. The court shall enter a judgment of dissolution of marriage if:

  (1) The court finds that one of the parties has been a resident of this state, or is a member of the armed services who has been stationed in this state, for ninety days immediately preceding the commencement of the proceeding and that thirty days have elapsed since the filing of the petition; and

  (2) The court finds that there remains no reasonable likelihood that the marriage can be preserved and that therefore the marriage is irretrievably broken; and

  (3) To the extent it has jurisdiction, the court has considered and made provision for child custody, the support of each child, the maintenance of either spouse and the disposition of property.

  2. The court shall enter a judgment of legal separation if:

  (1) The court finds that one of the parties has been a resident of this state, or is a member of the armed services who has been stationed in this state, for ninety days immediately preceding the commencement of the proceeding and that thirty days have elapsed since the filing of the petition; and

  (2) The court finds that there remains a reasonable likelihood that the marriage can be preserved and that therefore the marriage is not irretrievably broken; and

  (3) To the extent it has jurisdiction, the court has considered and made provision for the custody and the support of each child, the maintenance of either spouse and the disposition of property.

  3. Any judgment of dissolution of marriage or legal separation shall include the last four digits of the Social Security numbers of the parties. The full Social Security number of each party and each child shall be retained in the manner required under section 509.520.


Missouri Revised Statutes - Chapter 452 – Dissolution of Marriage, Divorce, Alimony and Separate Maintenance

CUSTODY

Revised Missouri Statute 452.375 in part states:  452.375. Custody — definitions — factors determining custody — prohibited, when — public policy of state — custody options — findings required, when — parent plan required — access to records — joint custody not to preclude child support — support, how determined — domestic violence or abuse, specific findings. — 1. As used in this chapter, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

  (1) "Custody" means joint legal custody, sole legal custody, joint physical custody or sole physical custody or any combination thereof;

  (2) "Joint legal custody" means that the parents share the decision-making rights, responsibilities, and authority relating to the health, education and welfare of the child, and, unless allocated, apportioned, or decreed, the parents shall confer with one another in the exercise of decision-making rights, responsibilities, and authority;

  (3) "Joint physical custody" means an order awarding each of the parents significant, but not necessarily equal, periods of time during which a child resides with or is under the care and supervision of each of the parents. Joint physical custody shall be shared by the parents in such a way as to assure the child of frequent, continuing and meaningful contact with both parents;

  (4) "Third-party custody" means a third party designated as a legal and physical custodian pursuant to subdivision (5) of subsection 5 of this section.

  2. The court shall determine custody in accordance with the best interests of the child. When the parties have not reached an agreement on all issues related to custody, the court shall consider all relevant factors and enter written findings of fact and conclusions of law, including, but not limited to, the following:

  (1) The wishes of the child's parents as to custody and the proposed parenting plan submitted by both parties;

  (2) The needs of the child for a frequent, continuing and meaningful relationship with both parents and the ability and willingness of parents to actively perform their functions as mother and father for the needs of the child;

  (3) The interaction and interrelationship of the child with parents, siblings, and any other person who may significantly affect the child's best interests;

  (4) Which parent is more likely to allow the child frequent, continuing and meaningful contact with the other parent;

  (5) The child's adjustment to the child's home, school, and community;

  (6) The mental and physical health of all individuals involved, including any history of abuse of any individuals involved. If the court finds that a pattern of domestic violence as defined in section 455.010 has occurred, and, if the court also finds that awarding custody to the abusive parent is in the best interest of the child, then the court shall enter written findings of fact and conclusions of law. Custody and visitation rights shall be ordered in a manner that best protects the child and any other child or children for whom the parent has custodial or visitation rights, and the parent or other family or household member who is the victim of domestic violence from any further harm;

  (7) The intention of either parent to relocate the principal residence of the child; and

  (8) The wishes of a child as to the child's custodian. The fact that a parent sends his or her child or children to a home school, as defined in section 167.031, shall not be the sole factor that a court considers in determining custody of such child or children.


Missouri Revised Statutes - Chapter 453 – Adoption and Foster Care

ADOPTION

Revised Missouri Statute 453.010 in part states:  453.010. Petition for permission to adopt, venue, jurisdiction — no denial or delay in placement of child based on residence or domicile — expedited placement, when. — 1. Any person desiring to adopt another person as his or her child shall petition the juvenile division of the circuit court of the county in which:

  (1) The person seeking to adopt resides;

  (2) The child sought to be adopted was born;

  (3) The child is located at the time of the filing of the petition; or

  (4) Either birth person resides.

  2. A petition to adopt shall not be dismissed or denied on the grounds that the petitioner is not domiciled or does not reside in any of the venues set forth in subdivision (2), (3) or (4) of subsection 1 of this section.

  3. If the person sought to be adopted is a child who is under the prior and continuing jurisdiction of a court pursuant to the provision of chapter 211, any person desiring to adopt such person as his or her child shall petition the juvenile division of the circuit court which has jurisdiction over the child for permission to adopt such person as his or her child. Upon receipt of a motion from the petitioner and consent of the receiving court, the juvenile division of the circuit court which has jurisdiction over the child may transfer jurisdiction to the juvenile division of a circuit court within any of the alternative venues set forth in subsection 1 of this section.

  4. If the petitioner has a spouse living and competent to join in the petition, such spouse may join therein, and in such case the adoption shall be by them jointly. If such a spouse does not join the petition the court in its discretion may, after a hearing, order such joinder, and if such order is not complied with may dismiss the petition.

  5. Upon receipt of a properly filed petition, a court, as defined in this section, shall hear such petition in a timely fashion. A court or any child-placing agency shall not deny or delay the placement of a child for adoption when an approved family is available, regardless of the approved family's residence or domicile. The court shall expedite the placement of a child for adoption pursuant to subsection 3 of this section.

  6. A licensed child-placing agency may file a petition for transfer of custody if a birth parent consents in writing by power of attorney for placement of a minor child, a consent to adoption, or any other document which evidences a desire to place the child with the licensed child-placing agency for the purposes of transfer of custody of the child to the licensed child-placing agency. The written consent obtained from the birth parent shall strictly comply with section 453.030.


Missouri Revised Statutes - Chapter 454 – Enforcement of Support Law

CHILD SUPPORT

Revised Missouri Statute 454.400 in part states:  454.400. Family support division established — duties, powers — rules, procedure. — 1. There is established within the department of social services the "Family Support Division" to administer the state plan for child support enforcement. The duty pursuant to the state plan to litigate or prosecute support actions shall be performed by the appropriate prosecuting attorney, or other attorney pursuant to a cooperative agreement with the department. The department shall fully utilize existing IV-A staff of the family support division to perform child support enforcement duties approved by the United States Department of Health and Human Services and consistent with federal requirements as specified in P.L. 93-647 and 45 CFR, section 303.20.

  2. In addition to the powers, duties and functions vested in the family support division by other provisions of this chapter or by other laws of this state, the family support division shall have the power:

  (1) To sue and be sued;

  (2) To make contracts and carry out the duties imposed upon it by this or any other law;

  (3) To administer, disburse, dispose of and account for funds, commodities, equipment, supplies or services, and any kind of property given, granted, loaned, advanced to or appropriated by the state of Missouri for any of the purposes herein;

  (4) To administer oaths, issue subpoenas for witnesses, examine such witnesses under oath, and make and keep a record of the same;

  (5) To adopt, amend and repeal rules and regulations necessary or desirable to carry out the provisions of this chapter and which are not inconsistent with the constitution or laws of this state;

  (6) To cooperate with the United States government in matters of mutual concern pertaining to any duties wherein the family support division is acting as a state agency, including the adoption of such methods of administration as are found by the United States government to be necessary for the efficient operation of the state plan hereunder;

  (7) To make such reports in such form and containing such information as the United States government may, from time to time, require, and comply with such provisions as the United States government may, from time to time, find necessary to assure the correctness and verification of such reports;

  (8) To appoint, when and if it may deem necessary, advisory committees to provide professional or technical consultation in respect to child support enforcement problems and program administration. The members of such advisory committees shall receive no compensation for their services other than expenses actually incurred in the performance of their official duties. The number of members of each such advisory committee shall be determined by the family support division, and such advisory committees shall consult with the family support division in respect to problems and policies incident to the administration of the particular function germane to their respective field of competence;

  (9) To initiate or cooperate with other agencies in developing measures for the enforcement of support obligations;

  (10) To collect statistics, make special fact-finding studies and publish reports in reference to child support enforcement;

  (11) To establish or cooperate in research or demonstration projects relative to child support enforcement and the welfare program which will help improve the administration and effectiveness of programs carried on or assisted pursuant to the federal Social Security Act and the programs related thereto;

  (12) To accept gifts and grants of any property, real or personal, and to sell such property and expend such gifts or grants not inconsistent with the administration of the state plan for child support enforcement and within the limitations of the donor thereof;

  (13) To review every three years or such shorter cycle as the division may establish, upon the request of the obligee, the obligor or if there is an assignment under Part A of the federal Social Security Act, upon the request of the division, obligee or obligor taking into account the best interest of the child, the adequacy of child support orders in IV-D cases to determine whether modification is appropriate pursuant to the guidelines established by supreme court rule 88.01, to establish rules pursuant to chapter 536, to define the procedure and frequency of such reviews, and to initiate proceedings for modification where such reviews determine that a modification is appropriate. This subdivision shall not be construed to require the division or its designees to represent the interests of an absent parent against the interests of a custodial parent or the state;

  (14) To provide services relating to the establishment of paternity and the establishment, modification and enforcement of child support obligations.


Missouri Revised Statutes - Chapter 455 – Abuse — Adults and Children — Shelters and Protective Orders

ORDER OF PROTECTION / EX PARTE

Revised Missouri Statute 455.010 in part states:  455.010. Definitions. — As used in this chapter, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise, the following terms shall mean:

  (1) "Abuse" includes but is not limited to the occurrence of any of the following acts, attempts or threats against a person who may be protected pursuant to this chapter, except abuse shall not include abuse inflicted on a child by accidental means by an adult household member or discipline of a child, including spanking, in a reasonable manner:

  (a) "Assault", purposely or knowingly placing or attempting to place another in fear of physical harm;

  (b) "Battery", purposely or knowingly causing physical harm to another with or without a deadly weapon;

  (c) "Coercion", compelling another by force or threat of force to engage in conduct from which the latter has a right to abstain or to abstain from conduct in which the person has a right to engage;

  (d) "Harassment", engaging in a purposeful or knowing course of conduct involving more than one incident that alarms or causes distress to an adult or child and serves no legitimate purpose. The course of conduct must be such as would cause a reasonable adult or child to suffer substantial emotional distress and must actually cause substantial emotional distress to the petitioner or child. Such conduct might include, but is not limited to:

  a. Following another about in a public place or places;

  b. Peering in the window or lingering outside the residence of another; but does not include constitutionally protected activity;

  (e) "Sexual assault", causing or attempting to cause another to engage involuntarily in any sexual act by force, threat of force, duress, or without that person's consent;

  (f) "Unlawful imprisonment", holding, confining, detaining or abducting another person against that person's will;

  (2) "Adult", any person seventeen years of age or older or otherwise emancipated;

  (3) "Child", any person under seventeen years of age unless otherwise emancipated;

  (4) "Court", the circuit or associate circuit judge or a family court commissioner;

  (5) "Domestic violence", abuse or stalking committed by a family or household member, as such terms are defined in this section;

  (6) "Ex parte order of protection", an order of protection issued by the court before the respondent has received notice of the petition or an opportunity to be heard on it;

  (7) "Family" or "household member", spouses, former spouses, any person related by blood or marriage, persons who are presently residing together or have resided together in the past, any person who is or has been in a continuing social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim, and anyone who has a child in common regardless of whether they have been married or have resided together at any time;

  (8) "Full order of protection", an order of protection issued after a hearing on the record where the respondent has received notice of the proceedings and has had an opportunity to be heard;

  (9) "Order of protection", either an ex parte order of protection or a full order of protection;

  (10) "Pending", exists or for which a hearing date has been set;

  (11) "Petitioner", a family or household member who has been a victim of domestic violence, or any person who has been the victim of stalking or sexual assault, or a person filing on behalf of a child pursuant to section 455.503 who has filed a verified petition pursuant to the provisions of section 455.020 or section 455.505;

  (12) "Respondent", the family or household member alleged to have committed an act of domestic violence, or person alleged to have committed an act of stalking or sexual assault, against whom a verified petition has been filed or a person served on behalf of a child pursuant to section 455.503;

  (13) "Sexual assault", as defined under subdivision (1) of this section;

  (14) "Stalking" is when any person purposely engages in an unwanted course of conduct that causes alarm to another person, or a person who resides together in the same household with the person seeking the order of protection when it is reasonable in that person's situation to have been alarmed by the conduct. As used in this subdivision:

  (a) "Alarm" means to cause fear of danger of physical harm; and

  (b) "Course of conduct" means a pattern of conduct composed of two or more acts over a period of time, however short, that serves no legitimate purpose. Such conduct may include, but is not limited to, following the other person or unwanted communication or unwanted contact.


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Divorce, Paternity, Custody, Child/Spousal Support, Modification, Adoption, Grandparent Rights
Divorce, Paternity, Custody, Child/Spousal Support, Modification, Adoption, Grandparent Rights