St. Louis Visitation Lawyer
Every parent in St. Louis has the right to raise their children. However, when the parents of a child are not married or no longer live together, this can be extremely difficult to achieve.
Of course, another major element to child visitation cases are the rights of children. The Court must always make decisions that are in the best interests of children. As a result, it can be challenging for a non-custodial parent to retain visitation rights over their kids.
A St. Louis visitation lawyer can help you obtain the visitation rights that you deserve. An experienced advocate from our team can work to craft separation agreements or divorce decrees that promote fair visitation schedules. We can also fight for renewed visitation rights after a judge has terminated or limited them.
A Parent’s Right to Visit Their Children
Generally, every parent in St. Louis who does not have custody of a child retains the right to visitation. According to Missouri Revised Statutes §452.400, the Court must either craft a visitation plan or accept a proposed plan that maintains a child’s physical health and emotional development. These plans go into effect regardless of a custodial parent’s wishes or opinions concerning the fitness of the visiting parent.
However, it is possible for a judge to restrict, limit, or terminate a parent’s visitation rights. For example, if the Court finds a parent has committed child abuse – either violent or sexual in nature – a family law judge would be unlikely to grant unsupervised visitation rights in an effort to protect the child from further abuse.
Additionally, the Court may consider a parent’s history of violence, substance abuse, and the presence of any protective orders when making this determination. A St. Louis attorney can help a parent understand the legal basis for obtaining visitation rights.
Changing an Existing Visitation Order
Any visitation plan that a judge orders carries the full effect of the law. A parent who violates the terms of an order – either by taking more or less visitation time than prescribed – could face a civil contempt order or a motion to modify.
While these orders will remain in effect until the child becomes an adult, they are also subject to modification. If both parents agree that a change in the parenting plan is in the best interests of the child, they may submit a joint petition to the Court requesting a change. As long as the Court agrees that the plan is feasible, it will likely grant the request.
Alternatively, situations may arise where only one parent wishes to make a change, such as:
- Changing visitation from supervised to unsupervised
- A visiting parent providing proof of better behavior
- One parent looking to increase their parenting time or decrease the other parent’s time
In these cases, a petition for modification is only appropriate if a continuous change in circumstances has occurred that would impact the original parenting time schedule, according to MO Rev. Stat. §452.410. A lawyer who practices in the St. Louis area can help determine whether a parent’s circumstances warrant a modification, as well as whether the time is right to request a change in visitation.
A St. Louis Visitation Attorney Can Help
Every parent has the right to raise their child, but the Court can award sole custody to one party. This would leave the other parent with only limited rights.
A St. Louis visitation lawyer can help you fight for a fair parenting schedule and ensure that the Court recognizes their right to spend time with their children. One of our compassionate family allies can also help modify existing orders that may have otherwise terminated your visitation rights.
On the other hand, we can also help you fight against any proposed changes to your current visitation schedule that may not be right for your child. Reach out to a St. Louis visitation lawyer today to see how they can help you and your kids.