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Divorce & Family Law FAQs

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If you are currently going through a divorce, working to keep custody of your child, or dealing with another family law issue, you likely have many questions about the process and what your future will look like. At The Roberts Law Firm, P.C., we understand that dealing with family law matters is typically one of the most difficult times in a person’s life. Our Chesterfield divorce attorneys are committed to helping you throughout each stage of the process. We offer compassionate, personalized legal representation backed by 35 years of experience. We can answer your questions and address any concerns you may have about your specific situation.

Browse our helpful and informative Missouri divorce and family law FAQs here or call us at (636) 590-4864 for a confidential consultation with one of our Chesterfield family law attorneys.

What is alimony?

Alimony, now known formally as “spousal maintenance,” is payment that is made from one ex-spouse to another. The purpose of spousal maintenance is to provide one spouse with the same level of financial stability and comfort that was enjoyed during the marriage. Spousal maintenance payments can be either temporary or permanent, but permanent spousal maintenance is fairly rare.

For more information on spousal support, contact our Chesterfield divorce lawyers for a consultation.

How is spousal maintenance determined?

In Missouri, as in many other states, spousal maintenance is determined on a number of factors. These factors include the gross income of both ex-spouses, the ability of each spouse to work, whether or not there are any children from the marriage, the financial obligations of each person, and more. State and federal guidelines are also used to determine spousal maintenance issues, such as who will pay and who will receive spousal maintenance, the duration of spousal maintenance payments, and the amount to be paid. In most cases, the court makes its decision based on the federal Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act (UMDA).

Are there different types of child custody in Missouri?

Yes, there are several different child custody arrangements available to parents in Missouri. These include:

  • Joint physical and legal custody: In this arrangement, both parents have equal physical custody of the child and both parents are equally able to make decisions about the child’s welfare and upbringing.
  • Joint physical and sole legal custody: In this situation, the child splits time with both parents equally but only one parent has the right to make healthcare, educational, religious, and other decisions on behalf of the child.
  • Joint legal custody and sole physical custody: In this arrangement, both parents are allowed to make important decisions about the child, but the child lives with and spends time primarily with one parent.
  • Sole legal and physical custody: This is a relatively rare arrangement in which only one parent has the right to make decisions about the child and the child lives with the same parent. This situation may occur if one parent abandons the child or is deemed unfit to care for the child.
  • Third-party custody/visitation: This may include situations in which a grandparent or another family member/guardian is awarded custody or visitation rights.

Does the mother automatically have the right to child custody?

While this is a common misconception, the short answer is no, a mother does not automatically have the right to have custody of her child. Instead, Missouri considers the child’s relationship with his/her mother and father to be of equal importance. There are many factors taken into account when determining child custody; visit our child custody page or call our Chesterfield child custody lawyers to learn more.

What can I do if the other parent of my child won’t pay court-ordered child support?

Child support payments are not voluntary; if a parent has been ordered to pay child support to the other parent, he or she must make these payments. Failure to do so can result in legal consequences. If the other parent of your child is refusing to pay child support or has fallen behind on payments, you can bring what is known as an enforcement action. This is essentially a way of letting the court know that the other parent is not following a court order and requesting action. Our attorneys can help you with child custody and/or child support enforcement; call us at (636) 590-4864 today.

I lost my job. Do I still have to keep making child support payments?

In short, yes, you must continue making child support payments. However, if there has been a substantial change in your circumstances, such as the loss of your job, it may be possible to request a modification from the family court. A child support modification will take your new circumstances into account and determine if a new child support arrangement is appropriate. In the meantime, do not stop making your child support payments but do call us at your earliest convenience to find out how we can help you.

Can I appeal a family court decision?

If you are unhappy with the outcome of your divorce, child custody, child support, or family law case, it may be possible to appeal the decision. A post-trial motion can be filed if you believe that a judicial mistake was made. These actions are difficult to pursue; it is important that you speak to an experienced attorney about your legal rights and options.


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