Lee's Summit Office - 816-836-9950 Liberty Office - 816-781-6595

Family Law Practice Manages Complex Cases and Children’s Issues

Missouri attorneys practice in Jackson, Clay, Cass, Platte, Johnson and Lafayette Counties

With more than three decades of combined legal experience, the attorneys at Leonard & Finley LLC have been practicing family law with great success. Our thorough understanding of Missouri family law makes us a top choice as legal counsel in family matters. We have handled countless cases pertaining to all types of family law issues, including:

Understanding Your Family Law Issue

Divorce

Divorcing spouses are often confronted with a variety of legal issues that can range from child/spousal support to the division of property, including retirement assets and real estate to arrangements for parenting time with the children. Divorces can vary from relatively simple uncontested matters, where the parties are able to reach an agreement on all issues, to highly contested cases where some or all of the issues are disputed. Sometimes it is necessary to use the services of qualified third parties (accountants, mental health professionals, parent coordinators) to provide valuable expert opinions at trial. Our attorneys are prepared to utilize whatever resources are necessary to ensure that your rights are protected. Whether your divorce matter is straightforward, highly complex or somewhere in between, our attorneys are prepared to tailor your legal representation to meet your specific needs.

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Child custody

Custody refers to the legal rights and responsibilities of parents to their children. The primary consideration in all custody cases is the best interest of the child. In any case involving custody, the court must make two types of orders: legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody refers to a parent’s right to make important decisions regarding the child’s health, education and general welfare. Physical custody concerns the general arrangement for the amount of time each parent spends with the child. A key consideration in physical custody matters is a schedule of parenting time or visitation. Both legal and physical custody can be shared (joint custody) or awarded to only one parent (sole custody). The custody arrangement most appropriate in your situation depends on the circumstances of your case. Our attorneys can provide you with sound guidance when establishing a custody arrangement that is in the best interest of your child.

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Modifications to prior judgements

Sometimes, after a judgment is entered, your circumstances have changed and the judgment is no longer practical or in the best interest of your child. If this is the case, a motion to modify may be required. Child support and child custody and/or parenting time may be modified so that the terms of the new judgment are in the best interest of the child. In certain cases, spousal support may also be modified. When there has been a substantial and continuing change in circumstances, you may return to court to obtain relief under a modified judgment. If you feel that the terms of your divorce decree or paternity judgment need to be modified, contact one of our attorneys to discuss your options.

Child support

When parents are divorcing or have never been married, one parent is usually ordered to pay child support to the other parent. The purpose of child support is to ensure that the needs of the child are being met through financial contribution by both parents. The amount of child support depends on a variety of factors, including the income of each parent, the arrangement of parenting time and the needs of the child, including health insurance or daycare expenses. Either parent may be eligible to receive child support, depending on the specific circumstances of the case. Child support may be at issue in a divorce, paternity action or modification. If you are facing a child support issue, it is important that you have the assistance of a knowledgeable attorney to ensure that the child support order is reasonable and appropriate.

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Paternity actions

The purpose of a paternity action is to establish legal fatherhood of a child born to unwed parties.  Paternity actions often include provisions for custody, parenting time, child support and health insurance for the child. A paternity action may be initiated by either parent or the child. If your child was born out of wedlock, both you and the child have important rights that must be protected. When biological paternity is at issue, a DNA test may be required.  Paternity actions are uncontested when the parties agree on a custody arrangement, a schedule of parenting time, child support and other important issues concerning the child. If the parties cannot come to an agreement, the case may be highly contested. Our attorneys are equipped with the knowledge and experience to ensure that your legal rights are protected.

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Orders of protection

You may seek an order of protection from acts, attempts or threats from a family or household member or intimate partner; or from acts of stalking. Guardians may also seek orders of protection for children for the same reasons. Our lawyers have had great success in getting protection orders for clients who feel endangered.

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Guardianship

Guardianship is the legal document that appoints someone to take on authority and responsibility for the personal affairs of another person (ward) who has been deemed incapacitated. The guardian has the power to decide care, custody and personal decisions for the ward to the extent decreed by the judge and based on the ward’s own best interest.

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Conservatorship

Conservatorship is similar to guardianship, except this legal process only pertains to the financial affairs of an individual who is incapable of making decisions. The conservator has the authority to take charge of and manage property and money only. The same person may serve as guardian and conservator.

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When you need a strong family law attorney, you need Leonard and Finley LLC

Call us 816-836-9950 (Lee’s Summit office) or 816-781-6595 (Liberty office) or visit our contact us page.