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Things to Know About Kansas City Child Custody Laws



If you are involved in a child custody dispute in Kansas City, Missouri, you should educate yourself on Kansas City child custody laws. Kansas City child custody laws apply to divorces, modifications to existing custody agreements and other child custody disputes.

This article will explain what you should know about Kansas City child custody laws. If you have questions specific to your case, you should contact an experienced Kansas City custody attorney.

Kansas City Child Custody Courts

In Missouri, child custody disputes are heard by circuit courts. Each county in Missouri, as well as the City of St. Louis, has its own circuit court.

Kansas City technically encompasses parts of four counties. This means your custody case will be heard in one of these courts:

If you have questions about which court should handle your child custody case, talk to a Kansas City custody lawyer.

Types of Custody under Kansas City Child Custody Laws

In general, there are two types of custody: Legal and physical.

If the court awards a parent legal custody, that parent has the right to make decisions regarding the child's upbringing, including healthcare and education decision. Kansas City courts usually strive to award legal custody to both parents, so they each have some say over the child's upbringing.

If a court awards a parent physical custody, it means the child lives with that parent. This parent is known as the custodial parent. The other parent is known as the non-custodial parent. The non-custodial parent may establish visitation rights, so the parent may visit the child. The parent will also be compelled by the court to pay some amount of child support.

When both parents are awarded legal custody, physical custody or both forms of child custody, Kansas City laws refer to this as joint custody. If only one parent is awarded custody, it is called sole custody.

Kansas City Child Custody Laws: Mediation

Many Missouri circuit courts require parents to take part in mediation to resolve any custody disagreements as quickly as possible. Mediation is a confidential meeting between both parents. It is overseen by a third-party impartial mediator. The goal of mediation is for parents to civilly come up with their own parenting plan.

For example, in the Circuit Court of Jackson County, parents are required to attend at least two hours of mediation. Services for mediation can be obtained through the Family Care Safety Registry.

If parents do come up with a parenting plan during mediation, it must be filed with the court for review. If approved, the judge will sign an order making the plan official and binding both parents to it. However, if the parents cannot come up with an agreed-upon parenting plan, they will have to resolve their dispute in court.

If you must resolve your dispute in court, you should seek out the advice of an experienced Kansas City child custody attorney. Whether you are trying to claim child custody in Buckner, Sibley, Lee’s Summit or another are around Kansas City, Attorneys.com can connect you to a custody lawyer. Just fill out the form on this site, or call 1-877-913-7222. After answering a few questions, Attorneys.com will provide you with the name of at least one area attorney. The lawyer will contact you within two business days, or you can reach out to him at your own convenience.

Kansas City Child Custody and Divorce

If you are filing for divorce from your spouse and you share custody of minor children in Kansas City, state divorce laws mandate that you and your spouse come up with an agreed-upon parenting plan.

It can take some time for the court to make a final order regarding child custody and child support. That is why you should consider requesting a temporary hearing. At a temporary hearing, you and your attorney can make a case for temporary custody orders. These custody order will apply to you and your spouse until a final order is made.

Once the judge signs a final order, both parents must abide by it. Even if the parents agree to alter the order, any alterations will not be legal unless ordered by the court. To make an alteration to an existing parenting plan, a parent will need to file a motion to modify the custody order.

If you would like to know more about temporary custody orders or modifying existing orders, talk to a Kansas City custody lawyer.