The Faulstich Law Firm. St. Louis Family Law Attorneys. -
My Blog

Psychological Evaluations and Child Custody Evaluations in Divorce and Paternity Cases

In Divorce cases where children are involved it's sometimes appropriate to ask for a Psychological Evaluation or a Child Custody Evaluation. Generally these are not done in cases where children are not involved. The reason for this is that generally there is a concern that a parent may not have the psychological aptitude to nurture a child in a way that is appropriate for the child. A generally conscientious parent without any mental health history usually doesn't have to worry about this kind of testing.

Divorce and Parenting Plans with Small Children

In every Divorce where children are involved, a parenting plan is required by the court. A parenting plan lays out the basic perimeters of the custody of the child as well as the support of the child. Part A of the Parenting Plan deals with the legal and physical custody of the child. Part B deals with the monetary issues that arise when parenting a child (for instance health insurance costs, extracurricular costs and child support itself). Unfortunately, when Children are involved in a divorce, there's always a good chance that you are going to have to go back to court some day to modify the agreement that you have made in your initial divorce.

Does Mediation work?

Mediation can be a good tool for certain sets of people in family law cases. In some jurisdictions, a certain amount of mediation is required before you delve too deeply into your court case. Mediation can help facilitate settlement. However, if the two parties are too far apart or have poor communication skills with each other, mediation can be an expensive detour from the process. Some cases are made for mediation and some are not. A good attorney can tell the difference. Some might be in a grey area. A good attorney can tell you that as well. In my experience, a lot of people look to mediation to keep costs down. Also in my experience, it rarely does that. If money is truly an issue, I would probably suggest to a client that each party talk to an attorney to see if this case is right for mediation. If both say yes, then try mediation. In this way, you will only have a consult fee for an attorney (one for you and one for spouse or ex-spouse in the case of modifications) and then also pay a mediator for his or her time. On the other hand, without at least doing a consult first, you may think your case is ripe for mediation and find out that it is not and that you cannot come to an agreement. At that point, you have to do everything you would have had to do in the court system and you've already spent a great deal of money in mediation, perhaps as much or more than you would have spent on a retainer.  And additionally, no progress has been made. A consult might also give you an idea of the range of what you can reasonably expect if the case went to trial so you know that you are not agreeing to a bad deal for yourself.  

Will the court work around my schedule in a family law case?

No. The courts will not work the court dates around your schedule. One of the things I tell my clients to prepare for is losing vacation days. You will have to take time off work. Your work likely doesn't have vacation days for this particular purpose. There are a few that do, but most do not. If you schedule a vacation, get insurance on it so that you can move your dates around. Also, it is probably best not to take a vacation if you can. If you have limited days off, don't make it so that you have to take unpaid days or so that potentially you could get fired.

Why it is important to hire someone who practices Family Law for a Family Law case

There are a few reasons why it is important to hire someone who practices family law for a family law case. I know that a lot of people rely on their social network of friends and family to get a lawyer. I know a lot of people feel more comfortable with this. If you find an attorney you are comfortable with, that is great. That's important. However, if that attorney doesn't practice certain family law the majority of the time, they probably won't be able to spot all of the issues in your case that need to be addressed as well as they might otherwise have.

Why is it important to "fix" or "take care of" a traffic ticket?

It is important to get an attorney to take care of a simple ticket like speeding or improper driving because if you do not have an attorney handle the ticket, you will get points on your license. These points are going to be visible on your record for multiple years to come. Insurance companies can see these points. They will increase your insurance rate accordingly. The price of hiring an attorney to handle the ticket (between $75 and $150 usually) will vastly be outweighed by the extra money you pay in insurance over the next few years that this offense shows on your driving record in almost every case. This is because in many cases, an attorney can compromise for you so that no points (beyond what you already have) appear on your license. You will likely have to pay a fine as well as the attorney fee the fine is typically similar to what you would have paid for the ticket in the first place, so that comes out to no loss or gain. 

Why should I have an Estate Plan?


As an attorney, I think a lot of people think that their assets aren't big enough and their life isn't interesting enough to warrant an estate plan. To the first issue: you would be surprised. You don't have to be "wealthy" to make an estate plan a smart move for you. As I have mentioned before for instance, having a small business (or any business) would make estate planning a must for you. You don't have to be wealthy to have a small business. Most people who have kids, a decent job, some savings, some retirement savings, a house, a spouse, a car or two, even someone with a special collection of collectibles—anyone with any one or any combination of these is a great candidate for an estate plan.

Grandparent Rights: Beyond the Basics: A Loophole


Recently I handled a case in which Grandparent Rights were at issue. As I have written before on this blog, Grandparent Rights are not as strong as a Grandparent might hope for or expect. There are only special circumstances in which a grandparent may ask for rights. Many times this is in a divorce case or a modification of the order from that previous divorce case in regards to the child custody portion of that divorce case.
The law allows for Grandparents to Intervene in Divorce cases and Modification of Child Custody cases.

What do I do if an administrative child support proceeding has been started against me?

The answer to this question is going to depend on a few things, but first and foremost, you need to respond within the timeline written on your notice and request a hearing. First of all, do you believe you are the father of the child? If not, then you will need to contest the paternity of the child. This does not mean that you need to run out and do your own testing then give that to the court. This is a bad idea for a few reasons: One, the test you choose may not even be admissible to prove or disprove paternity so the court will not even look at the results, and second, you might be wasting money if the child turns out not to be yours.

If a father is not married to the mother of a child, how does he get custody rights?

A paternity action filed in the Circuit Courts. A lot of people confuse this with the administrative process. Sometimes, when the mother is not married to the father, she can have him paying into child support for the child but the father does not have any enforceable custody rights. Additionally, it being dealt with this way may not only deprive a father of custody rights, but also has a very good chance of making the child support too high. Why? Because there are factors that administrative child support is not equipped to take into account as well as a Circuit Court might.
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