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How do I file for child custody?

14972192_S.jpgIf you are in a situation where you want custody of a child that you currently do not have legal custody of, then you have to go through the Missouri court system to gain those legal rights. According to the Missouri Courts, gaining custody begins by filing a petition with the court. You need to have established paternity and not have a current custody order for the child to file this petition.

Do note that even if you are paying or being paid child support that alone does not establish custody. Custody is a separate legal issue. You can petition for custody even if you are the one paying child support and the child does not currently live with you.

You will need a few documents to file for custody. These include proof of paternity, the child's birth certificate and any records of court orders. You will also need the forms from the court. You will fill out and file the forms and your supporting documentation with the court. You will also have to pay filing fees. The court then begins the process by notifying the other parent. There is a waiting period after the other parent is notified, but if he or she does not respond, the court will seat a hearing date when your case will go in front of a judge who will then make a final ruling.

Do be aware that if the other parent objects, you may have to undergo further requirements, such as taking a parenting class or providing more information. The process takes time, so be prepared to wait for the final ruling to be handed down. This information is for education and is not legal advice.

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