Taking Action in Family Court

We understand that the language and legal proceedings in Family Court can be confusing.  We have provided you with a list of the terms used for different kinds of actions taken in Missouri family courts so that you have better information and can the right term for the services you need:
Modification– Orders concerning custody or support of the children, or maintenance, sometimes require adjustment.  Orders may be adjusted through agreement arrived through negotiation between the parties or through mediation.  If agreement is not possible, then a Motion may be filed with the court and the court will consider modifying it’s earlier orders accordingly.  We are experienced in all modification matters.  Modifications are often fact specific and the law can and often does change.  Therefore, we recommend that you make an appointment to discuss and review your situation with an attorney and that you bring your current decree and orders so that they may be reviewed.

Custody   Custody refers to the parenting time or time the children spend with each parent (called “physical custody”) and the decision making process for the children (called “legal custody”).  All arrangements concerning custody are included in the “Parenting Plan.”

Enforcement/Contempt–  We assist clients in enforcing judgments or order in their decree through a variety of remedies.  These include Motions for Contempt, garnishment, wage execution, representation in Child Support Administrative hearings (Missouri Division of Family Support), and Motions to Enforce Judgments.  We can discuss with you the options that offer you the best potential results.

Paternity–  This is the action filed by parents who were not married when their child was born.  Both parties may seek orders concerning parenting (or “Custody”), support, legal recognition of parentage, the child’s name, and orders to recover necessary expenses incurred for the child prior to filing.

Adult Abuse/Restraining Order– Victims of domestic violence and stalking may file for a restraining order or an Order of Protection. In such orders, the defendant usually cannot enter the premises where you live, be around you or contact you.  If you are the victim of domestic violence, you may obtain an order from your county court.  If you are granted an Ex Parte order, it is effective immediately.  You should seek representation in the hearing, which will usually occur in 1-2 weeks.

Motion for Pendente Lite Relief – When parties require a solution to a problem during the pending of a divorce, they may file a Motion for Pendente Lite Relief.  Only certain kinds of temporary orders can be entered in reply to such motions but generally the orders available address many common problems that occur during separation including custody and parenting time with the children, temporary child support, temporary maintenance (alimony), deposits of attorneys fees for each party; and limited restraining orders related to use of marital property and co-habitation in certain situations.  You must have a divorce on file to file such motions.

Motion for Contempt/Motion to Enforce – When one party is not following court orders, such as orders to pay child support,  transfer property or other orders, the other party may file certain motions to enforce performance by the spouse who is not following court orders.   You should consult with your attorney to determine the merit of such motions and whether there is enough information to prove your case.

Family Access Motions  A Family Access Motion can be filed with or without the assistance of an attorney and allows parents who are having trouble seeing their children according to a court ordered schedule, enforce the parenting plan.