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Looking for child custody lawer in St Louis

post #1 of 10
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post #2 of 10
I don't really have a lawyer rec because I am on the IL side but you should definately contact Kids in the Middle in St.Louis. This will definately help you kids and you know how to handle the situation in the healthiest way. I highly recommend Jen Bruner. If you are on the IL side. PM me and I will give a few lawyer recs.
post #3 of 10
Hi there - I too don't have any specific recommendations, but would offer that you consider approaching the case with a collaborative-oriented attorney, rather than a traditional attorney who takes a litigious stance. I work in family court, and, as I'm sure you know, custody battles are heartbreakingly destructive.

Even better: perhaps you might be able to persuade the father to negotiate this matter with you using the collaborative process or mediation. Perhaps both of you can have your needs and concerns met this way. Plus, by reaching a mutually beneficial negotiated agreement, which takes a child-centered approach, you will be better able to successfully co-parent in the future. You can find a st. louis collaborative attorney here: http://www.stlouiscollaborativelaw.com/

I wish you all the best.
post #4 of 10
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post #5 of 10
To offer another point of view on this whole (potential) mess--which yes, could be very messy indeed:

If you are not married and not therefore seeking divorce, and you are already the child's primary caregiver, then just go on with your life and DO NOT ASK BIODAD FOR MONEY.

Mind you, I am not saying that you should forgo child support! I'm saying, YOU should not ask biodad for money. Simply seek recourse in the Child Support Enforcement agency of your residential state. Let that agency handle this matter, and you should probably avoid discussing it with biodad. Don't even tell him you've called CH.Support, just drop it. There is no reason to discuss it with him since the State will handle ch. support in accordance, after all, with laws regarding ch. sup....and there's really nothing you can do about that. Child Support is the Law. Period. He will have to deal with that on his own.

If this Difficult Man (and hehehehe, I think I know his 'twin brother' ), once approached by the State for child support, chooses to attempt to get custody, THEN all you have to do is go to court. He will be required to demonstrate pretty thoroughly that he a) has indeed shown interest in the child up to that time and b) ALSO can show that you, the primary parent up til that time, have such serious deficits as a person and parent that there is danger to your child.

See, the fact that a parent IS and HAS BEEN a primary caregiver to a child, has it's own 'legal standing'--your time and $$ spent on your child over time is considered valuable to the Court (as long as there is no evidence of abuse/neglect). Conversely, biodad's LACK of involvement ALSO is considered a form of standing, has it's own value in a judge's determination of such matters. The courts do want to allow both parents to have their 'parental rights' met--but they also consider the history of things in terms of the child's ongoing security/mental health/etc.

Not to mention that most judges are not really stupid--they can see when a parent is mainly working to avoid parental responsibility. His having more money and a bigger temper will NOT get him custody.

I know this whole thing can be extremely scary, especially with biodad having the economic advantage. However, it's mostly smoke and mirrors really. Consider this--he's p.o'ed now--but he will have to spend THOUSANDS, possibly tens of thousands, on a lawyer to pursue this through the courts. No matter what he is saying now, is he really going to do that? Also, if he does hire a lawyer, he will soon find that these matters are not resolved in a few easy weeks of time. They can be dragged out for YEARS--and the Courts don't care as long as it is obvious that your child is doing ok. Meantime, he'll have to keep trying to prove he's interested in a kid he's really not interested in (because his lawyer will tell him he must, if he wants any shot at all of custody). Maybe he'll spend his precious money....is he REALLY going to spend his precious TIME on a kid he doesn't really want?

I know it seems very threatening indeed-but having BTDT, in the end it is just not the threat it seems to be. A major pain in the patootie, yes, a bummer, a pointless drama. But you don't necessarily have to engage in the drama much. You and your child also have rights, and those rights are not dependent on your income.

Just quit talking to him about money. Let Child SUpport Enforcement handle it all....and legally, not only do you NOT have to discuss it with him, you have legal protection against him trying to make you talk about it.

If it gets to him pitching legal battle--then you are going to get help, possibly even from a free foundation lawyer. And I think, even if you are only a 1/2way decent parent, that you have very very little to worry about against a man who cares little/nothing for the child, and so much about his $$. I mean, you don't have to be perfect as a person or a parent--just showing actual responsible interest in your child--no worries about that, the Courts never see perfect parents because they don't exist!
post #6 of 10
I completely agree with MsBlack, but realize that's a very stressful, difficult avenue to pursue.

Have you looked at Legal Services of Eastern Missouri? They worked with me over a similar matter many years ago.
post #7 of 10
WHat is a very stressful, difficult avenue to pursue? I'm confused. Letting Ch. Support Enforcement pursue ch. sup is not much stress at all, IME. Or are you talking about something else?
post #8 of 10
In my experience, Child Support Enforcement is a joke. My ex has a great job making a ton of money and they have had this information the entire time but still put him down as unemployed when we went to court... long story short I am fairly sure my daughter will never get her support.

If an attorney is available for this, I would say use an attorney. I would in a heartbeat if I could afford one.
post #9 of 10
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post #10 of 10
No, it's not fair at all. It sucks in SO many ways.

But there is one more option--and it may be the one that ensures you and your LO the greatest peace, now and in the future. Walk away. Forget him and his money. You already have the best part of that relationship-- in your baby. For some men, spilling the Right Seed is the only good contribution they have to make to a child (whether biodad grows up later and could *become* a good man to future kids is not the issue for you, right now). Make your own life, release that attachment, move forward into your good!

And remember--nothing can keep you from your good! Nothing can keep your baby from HIS good. And if you can really release That Guy, and get grounded and happy with your baby in your own life, you will surely attract more love to you both--more self-love and feeling of self-worth; and in time, more love and respect from someone grown up and good hearted enough to see his own good embodied in responsibly loving and caring for you and your LO (just as you would love and care for him). With no pesky, stingy, self-involved jerky Ex in the picture, your future love life (for you and LO both) will be oh so much more simple and free!

Walk away....don't waste your time...give it up as a bad deal and move forward under your own power and love--the very best deal there is!
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