What’s in a Parenting Plan?

Under Section 452.310, RSMo., a parenting plan in Missouri must meet certain requirements.

“The proposed parenting plan shall set forth the arrangements that the party believes to be in the best interest of the minor children and shall include but not be limited to:

(1) A specific written schedule detailing the custody, visitation and residential time for each child with each party including:

(a) Major holidays stating which holidays a party has each year;

(b) School holidays for school-age children;

(c) The child’s birthday, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day;

(d) Weekday and weekend schedules and for school-age children how the winter, spring, summer and other vacations from school will be spent;

(e) The times and places for transfer of the child between the parties in connection with the residential schedule;

(f) A plan for sharing transportation duties associated with the residential schedule;

(g) Appropriate times for telephone access;

(h) Suggested procedures for notifying the other party when a party requests a temporary variation from the residential schedule;

(i) Any suggested restrictions or limitations on access to a party and the reasons such restrictions are requested;

(2) A specific written plan regarding legal custody which details how the decision-making rights and responsibilities will be shared between the parties including the following:

(a) Educational decisions and methods of communicating information from the school to both parties;

(b) Medical, dental and health care decisions including how health care providers will be selected and a method of communicating medical conditions of the child and how emergency care will be handled;

(c) Extracurricular activities, including a method for determining which activities the child will participate in when those activities involve time during which each party is the custodian;

(d) Child care providers, including how such providers will be selected;

(e) Communication procedures including access to telephone numbers as appropriate;

(f) A dispute resolution procedure for those matters on which the parties disagree or in interpreting the parenting plan;

(g) If a party suggests no shared decision-making, a statement of the reasons for such a request;

(3) How the expenses of the child, including child care, educational and extraordinary expenses as defined in the child support guidelines established by the supreme court, will be paid including:

(a) The suggested amount of child support to be paid by each party;

(b) The party who will maintain or provide health insurance for the child and how the medical, dental, vision, psychological and other health care expenses of the child not paid by insurance will be paid by the parties;

(c) The payment of educational expenses, if any;

(d) The payment of extraordinary expenses of the child, if any;

(e) Child care expenses, if any;

(f) Transportation expenses, if any.”

Greene County Domestic Relations Unit

The Family Court Division of the Circuit Court of Greene County maintains a Domestic Relations Unit. The Domestic Relations Unit publishes a quarterly newsletter. The July 2016 edition is here. Domestic relations officers sometimes sit in the courtroom to offer services related to the proceedings. Domestic relations officers sometimes meet with the attorneys to gather information to brief the commissioner on the status of the case before the attorneys brief the commissioner, in order to minimize the time in the courtroom for each case.


In Your Child’s Best Interest

The Missouri Office of State Courts Administrator publishes a guide for parents involved in custody/divorce litigation. A free copy is available here.

Parent Handbook

Children’s Interests: An Annotated Bibliography, 2013-2015

A professor of mine when I was in law school, Nancy Levit, published this past fall in the Journal of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, “Children’s Interests: An Annotated Bibliography, 2013-2015,” a bibliography of law review articles. The bibliography itself reads something like a dictionary, but it is a useful tool to find resources for recent scholarly work on various topics relevant to family court practice.

Family Law Resource Guide

The Family Law Resource Guide is published by the Missouri Bar and available for free here. The guide gives some background information about juveniles, marriage, divorce (aka, “dissolution”), child support, adoption, co-parenting and children with disabilities.family law resource guidecover

Latest Missouri Family Law Appellate Opinions

Family Law Materials

After preparing and presenting materials at a couple seminars on updates on Family Law, I am maintaining a page of new cases related to Family Law in Missouri.  Check in from time to time or search the page if you have an issue.

Solo and Small Firm Conference

I have been asked to speak at the Missouri Bar Solo and Small Firm The Missouri BarConference on the topic of Family Law.

I look forward to seeing my colleagues there and catching up.

Missouri Bar Annual Law Update

I have been invited to speak at the Missouri Bar Annual Law Update The Missouri Baron the topic of Family Law on June 4, 2015 at the Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites in Springfield.  I look forward to catching up with my colleagues and catching up on the latest developments in Family Law.

What is a Form 14?

In Missouri, Supreme Court Rule 88.01 provides that, “There is a rebuttable presumption that the amount of child support calculated pursuant to Civil Procedure Form No. 14 is the correct amount of child support to be awarded in any judicial or administrative proceeding.”  You can find a copy here.

Be careful.  The form no more intuitive than typical income tax forms.  There are instructions and worksheets and ambiguities that lawyers argue in court.

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