The Faulstich Law Firm. St. Louis Family Law Attorneys. -
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Divorce

Why Limited Scope Representation Could Work for You in a Custody Case

So you are looking to file a child custody or child support case but you do not want to hire an attorney to handle every aspect of the case because that would be cost prohibitive.  For the most part you want to be hands on and handle the case yourself.  However, there may be some small aspects of the case that require legal expertise.  For those issues you can us "Limited Scope Representation" as an affordable option that will allow you to get what legal expertise you may need without breaking the bank.  If you decide to go this route you will need to set out the parameters of representation in a limited legal services contract.  The best way to do that is to set an appointment to discuss what it is that you want and need and then sign a written document evidencing exactly what it is that will be expected from the attorney.  Our office can help you with those details and enter our limited appearance in your case, if that is what is outlined in the agreement.  If an Entry of Limited Appearance is filed in your case and once the work outlined in the limited scope representation agreement is completed a Termination of Limited Appearance will be filed with the Court and the attorney's work in the case will end.  However, an attorney is not required to file an Entry of Limited Appearance in every case.  Work can be completed without an attorney ever entering their appearance in your case.  If you are interested in this type of representation, please give my office a call to set an appointment.  Let my assistant know that your office visit is to discuss possible "Limited Scope Representation." The phone number for The Faulstich Law Firm is 314-260-7823.

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.  

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 are some common pitfalls when self-representing in a divorce?

(1)    Not understanding the law and what you are entitled to before agreeing to a Settlement agreement. For example, a lot of potential payors on child support or maintenance don't realize how much the law and the legal landscape has changed in the past decade, and therefore they end up paying far too much, because of their preconceived notions and expectations about what they were going to have to pay (notions which are probably based on outdated societal expectations). Recently, higher credits for noncustodial parents were allowed, but you have to know how to ask for them and why.

Can I file a dissolution on my own or do I need an attorney?

You can file a dissolution on your own. Depending on what county you are in, some may be more difficult than others. For instance, here in Missouri, in St. Louis County, there are some services set up to help with this. On the other hand, the surrounding counties like St. Charles, Franklin County, St. Louis City (separate from St. Louis County), and Jefferson County, which admittedly are much smaller, do not have the same resources. Additionally, none of these resources can give you free legal advice.

During my dissolution, can I hire an attorney at any time?

The answer to this is yes. You can always try to start the process and call an attorney later if you feel the need. This might not be advisable for a number of reasons, but if you need one, late is better than never. That said, there will be times where most attorneys will refuse to jump into the case. Taking on the responsibility of representing someone is something that we take seriously. Coming into a case midway means a lot of catchup for an attorney who has not been involved with the previous proceedings.

What type of information will I need to provide to the court during my dissolution?

When you marry, that act has many legal repercussions involving how your finances are treated and your children are treated in the eyes of the law. Therefore, it makes sense that when you are dismantling this legal union that you will be asked to provide a great deal of information about both finances and your children if you have them.

You will be asked to provide information about your income. Information that you will need will be broken down on paystubs and W-2s that will be helpful in providing the court with this information.

My spouse and I have decided to get a divorce. How do I get started?

You will need to make what is called an initial filing. This begins the divorce process, which in Missouri is legally referred to as a "dissolution". An initial filing will include multiple documents. You will need to provide court approved forms for some of these. Some of the documents will ask for simple data like birthdate and date of marriage. Others are more complex and will require you to "plead" certain information based upon legal statute (a type of law). Also, these will need to be served upon the respondent, which in this case would be your spouse or your spouse's attorney.

Can a Parent Be Stopped From Moving By Their Ex-spouse to Relocate For a New Job or Move In With a New Spouse?

As discussed in previous blog entries, Missouri has a law for relocation after a divorce when you have children that are still living under the parenting plan that was created during the initial proceeding. For a smooth transition to a new parenting plan, it is imperative that a parent planning to move understand the requirements under the statute. Not only can insufficient notice cause you to lose some of the custody rights that you previously enjoyed, but it can also cause your move to become practically speaking very difficult.
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