Divorce can be a difficult and emotional time for you and the ones you love. Our primary goal is to help you navigate the legal process by listening to you and developing a strategic plan to address your unique needs. The decisions you make during your divorce can have a lasting effect on your emotional and financial future. Planning and strategic consultation are key to helping you discover and maximize your portion of the marital assets, obtain a favorable parenting plan for your children, and ensure a financial peace of mind for the future. Let Maggie use her legal expertise to help you achieve your desired results during this trying time by contacting her today.
Paternity is a complex area of law that affects both unwed mothers and fathers. For unwed fathers in Missouri and Kansas, the right to parent and support a child is not automatic. A court must first establish paternity before awarding custody and parenting time. For unwed mothers, paternity is important to establish child support and provide for a plan to ensure her child’s financial needs are being met by both parents. There are a number of ways for which paternity can be established, including a DNA test, the placement of a father’s name on the child’s birth certificate, and by formal affidavit of the father. If you are an unwed parent looking to establish a right to custody or child support, we will help guide you through the complex legal process to protect your rights. Contact Maggie for a consultation today.
Through adoption, a child is given the same rights and privileges as a child born to the adoptive parents. Likewise, the adoptive parents have the same rights and duties to the adoptive child as they would a child born to them. Adoption law is complex, and varies state to state. Generally there is a detailed application and approval process that can take months to complete. The court will require the completion of a home study and temporary placement before the adoption is finalized. While the best interests of the child is the court’s primary concern, other factors are also important in determining the adoptive parents’ eligibility, such as age, health, socioeconomic status, and home environment. A knowledgeable, experienced attorney is needed to assist adoptive parents in the successful transfer of parental rights. Maggie understands the importance of this endeavor, and will make every effort to meet her client’s adoptive goals.
Child custody litigation is often the most emotional and difficult aspects of divorce or paternity cases, and for good reason: the health and welfare of children is normally a parent’s primary concern. In Missouri and Kansas, there are two different types of custody: “legal” and “physical” or “residential.” Legal custody refers to the right of the parent to make important decisions concerning their child’s health, education, and general welfare. The default presumption is that the parents will exercise joint legal custody, which means they will have equal say in these decisions, and must consult with one another before making them. Physical or residential custody refers to the amount of time the child actually resides in a parent’s care. Like legal custody, joint physical or shared residential custody is the norm, with each parent exercising substantial parenting time with the children each week. Of course, there are exceptions to this and a number of factors go into the court’s decision in awarding custody. Let us guide you through these difficult issues by making an appointment today.
The term “child support” describes the financial obligation of the non-custodial parent to pay to the custodial parent for the cost of raising his or her children. Child support will generally be included as an order in a divorce or paternity judgment. The establishment, modification, or termination of child support can only be made by the court. Child support is established through a complicated mathematical formula created by the state courts and legislature, which takes into account a number of factors, including parents’ incomes, number of children, cost of health insurance for the children, and child-care costs. We can assist you in determining a fair amount of child support based on these specific formulas and your unique situations.
guardianships & conservatorship
Guardianship and conservatorship, like adoption, can be highly complex and time consuming to achieve. Legal guardianships and conservatorships allow a person to have legal authority and duty to manage the personal and property interest of a child or incapacitated individual. In family law, guardianships and conservatorships often are necessary when grandparents or other family members are caring for children who have been neglected by their parent or parents, who are their natural guardians. When a child’s parents are either unwilling or unable to care for the children, a guardianship or conservatorship will allow another person to make medical and educational decisions, manage bank accounts and receive payments, and etc. on behalf of the child. Maggie is an experienced attorney who will provide the guidance and support necessary to achieve your guardianship / conservatorship goals.
Like child custody, property division is often a highly contentious topic in a divorce. State law controls how property is characterized and divided. Generally this means categorizing property into two categories: marital or non-marital. Missouri and Kansas courts will typically divide marital property on a fair and equitable basis, taking into consideration a number of factors such as the duration of marriage, age of parties, income earning potential of parties, and waste and dissipation of marital assets. Maggie is an experienced attorney who has handled many complex property cases. When significant assets are at stake, it is important to develop a strategic approach to help maximize your share of marital assets. Contact Maggie to discuss your plan today.
ENFORCEMENT AND COLLECTION OF CHILD SUPPORT
Missouri and Kansas law provides a number of methods of collecting child support from non-custodial parents. The law allows for several methods of collecting child support from a non-custodial parent who is subject to an order for child support. The most commonly used method of enforcement is wage withholding. Other methods include suspension of driver’s license and property liens. In some cases, civil contempt or criminal non-support charges may be filed. If you are the victim of non-support, please contact our office to work with you to pursue your collection options.
same sex legal issues
Maggie has been at the forefront of same sex legal issues, handling the first contested same sex divorce with children case in the metro area. Additionally, she is a staunch ally of the gay community, serving as a member of the Kansas City Mid-America Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (Mid-America GLCC). There are a number of family law issues that are often especially prevalent in the LGBTQ community, including issues of cohabitation and resulting property division, custody rights for the non-biological parent, custody of frozen embryos, etc. Maggie is one of just a handful of attorneys in the metro area who has extensive experience in working with LGBTQ clients to meet their legal needs in these areas.