The Law Firm of Lorri Kline is the for all your Family Law Needs!
Areas of Expertise
Legal matters involving children account for a large part of the field of family law, and Missouri legal code contains a variety of laws aimed at protecting children and providing for their welfare. The Law Firm of Lorri Kline has are experienced in the areas of parental rights, adoption, and guardianship.
Welcoming a child into a family is a joyful occasion, and our attorneys are experienced in the procedure of establishing the legal status of a new parent-child relationship. We handle stepparent adoptions and domestic adoptions.
Schedule a Consultation for Step Parent Adoption
When a parent is incapacitated, dies or is unwilling or unable to take care of a child, the child may need a guardian. A guardianship confers on the adult the same rights as a parent has over a child including legal rights over the physical custody of the child, the ability to make medical decisions for the child and enroll him or her in school. We can lead you through this sometimes confusing legal process.
A conservatorship allows an individual to take over and protect a child’s financial interests. We can explain when setting up a conservatorship makes sense and what must be done under the law to establish one.
Void marriages are those that are automatically void (like bigamous marriages or marriages between siblings).
Voidable marriages are those which are not automatically void, but where a person can petition the court to make a determination that the marriage never existed. When a person is seeking a judgment that the marriage was void or voidable from the outset, this is called a nullity or annulment case.
The Law Firm of Lorri Kline provide experienced advice and advocacy on appeals in both state and federal courts. Whether a client is appealing or defending a judgment, the attorneys have the skill and resources to analyze the record on appeal, advise clients on the merits of the case, and present compelling written and oral arguments to the appellate courts.
With years of experience practicing in the area of family law, the attorneys at The Law Firm of Lorri Kline we have the knowledge and skill to lead you through the child custody process.
Some of the most frequently asked questions:
- How does a parent win child custody?
- In Missouri, who pays child support if the parents are awarded joint custody?
- Is a parent allowed to exercise visitation rights if child support hasn’t been paid?
- Can a parent who is not competent have custody of a child?
- What happens if a parent doesn’t follow the custody schedule?
- Who gets custody if the parents aren’t married?
We believe that the job of a child custody lawyer is to help clients understand their options and give them the information and confidence they need to make well-informed decisions that will benefit their children. We will explain the concepts of legal custody, physical custody, 50-50 custody and joint custody. We provide information on parenting plans and their role in a marriage dissolution involving children as well as in paternity matters and motions to modify child custody.
Understanding how child support payments are calculated in Missouri is one of the many concerns of parents, whether they are involved in the marriage dissolution process, establishing paternity or seeking a modification of child support payments. Our lawyers can explain Missouri law governing child support payments.
Some of the most frequently asked child support questions:
- How is child support calculated?
- What is the average child support payment?
- What is the age limit for child support?
- May child support payments be claimed on taxes?
- Does child support include high school tuition?
- Do child support payments cover college tuition?
A variety of factors considered in the calculation of child support have been distilled into what is known as the Form 14 Child Support Amount Calculation Worksheet. The amount computed through the use of Form 14 yields what is known as a rebuttable presumption of the appropriate amount to be paid in the case. However, as the name implies, a judge may deviate from the amount if certain circumstances exist.
When awarding child custody or visitation, the court bases its decision on the best interests of the child. The statutory factors a judge must consider, according to Missouri law, include:
- The wishes of the parents
- The need of the child to have frequent interaction and a meaningful relationship with both parents
- The child’s interactions with parents, siblings and others that may significantly affect the child’s best interests
- Which parent is more likely to allow frequent and meaningful contact with the other parent
- The child’s adjustment at home, school and in the community
- The mental and physical health of the parties, including any history of abuse
- The intention of a parent to relocate
- The wishes of the child
Even in the best of circumstances, divorce is a traumatic experience. Recognized as some of the top divorce lawyer in Central Missouri, The Law Firm of Lorri Kline understands how to take the anxiety and uncertainty out of the divorce process. They explain the relative benefits of the various options for ending a marriage and provide clients with the information they need to make well-informed decisions. We customize a road map with divorcing clients, helping them understand what is happening at every step of the process. We assess each situation and counsel clients on whether to pursue a divorce through the collaborative process, mediation or traditional litigation. In this supportive and professional environment, clients may set aside their emotions, set realistic expectations and goals, and craft resolutions that let all involved move forward. We know that the client is the one who must live with the outcome, and clients who are active in the decision-making process achieve the best results.
We are dedicated advocates for clients, providing complete representation in all areas related to divorce and legal separation, including:
Child custody and child support
Division of marital property
Separate property issues
Complex financial matters and business valuations
Pre- and postnuptial agreements
Orders of protection
Family violence is a sad fact of life for many Missourians, both adults and children. Whether it involves spouses, domestic partners, girlfriends or boyfriends or children, physical or sexual abuse or stalking can have lifelong effects. In some cases, family violence is fatal.
Who May Obtain an Order of Protection?
Missouri’s laws set forth who may seek a protective order, also commonly referred to as a restraining order. The guidelines differ slightly, depending on whether the victim is an adult or a child.
Adult Abuse Protective Order
A person who is 17 years of age or older and who has been subjected to or threatened with assault, battery, coercion, harassment, sexual assault, unlawful imprisonment or stalking may seek a restraining order against a family member, household member, current or former romantic partner or anyone with whom he or she has a child.
Child Abuse Protective Order
A child younger than 17 years who has experienced nonaccidental physical injury, sexual abuse, emotional abuse or stalking by current or former household members, a current or former romantic partner or anyone whom he or she has a child may be covered by a restraining order. A parent, guardian, guardian ad litem, court-appointed special advocate or juvenile officer must file a petition to obtain such an order.
How Does an Order of Protection Help?
An order of protection aids the victim of abuse in several ways:
- A judge is ordering an end to the abuse or harassing behavior.
- The abuser is ordered to stay away from the home, workplace or school of anyone protected by the order.
- The abuser is prohibited from telephoning, mailing, emailing or sending other types of messages to the victim.
- If the abuser and victim are adults who have children together, the abuser may be ordered to stay away from the children.
- The judge may order the abuser to pay medical expenses and reimburse the victim for property damage incurred during the abuse.
- If police must be called to address the abuser’s behavior, an order of protection alerts law enforcement ahead of time to the seriousness of the matter by indicating that the situation involves a history of problems.
How Is a Restraining Order Obtained in Missouri?
A victim of abuse, harassment or stalking does not need an attorney to obtain an order of protection, but having an experienced Missouri family lawyer on your side can help make the process much easier. A qualified attorney can provide advice on such important related issues as child support and child custody.
The victim may seek a temporary order of protection. Also known as an ex parte order of protection, this order may be granted when a judge believes that an immediate or present danger of abuse exists. The order is typically granted without the abuser present.
Within 15 days of granting an ex parte order of protection, the judge must hold a full hearing on the request; the abuser must receive at least 72 hours’ notice of the hearing. At the hearing, the judge will take testimony and review the evidence to decide whether to issue a full order of protection.
If the abuser is under the age of 17, once a judge enters the ex parte order of protection, the case is transferred to juvenile court where a full hearing on the restraining order will be held. If the abuser is not represented by a parent or guardian, the juvenile court will appoint a guardian ad litem.
The parties may sign what is known as a consent order of protection if the abuser agrees to the terms and conditions of the order, even if he or she does not admit to the abuse. A mutual order of protection may be entered if each party has filed an ex parte order of protection against the other
How to Enforce Child Support, Child Custody, Child Visitation, and Spousal Support Orders
Sometimes people don’t do what they’ve been ordered to do. If a party is ignoring or failing to comply with a legal judgment, an attorney for another party involved in the case can take legal action to enforce the judgment. The Law Firm of Lorri Kline is dedicated to protecting their clients’ interests in this way.
Failure to follow a spousal support order in a divorce decree or the conditions set forth in a child custody plan or child support order results in hardship for the family, both economic and emotional. The other parties must return to court to file a motion for contempt to force the noncooperating party to follow the order.
When a judge enters an order of contempt, a former spouse or parent may face:
- Garnishment of wages
- Seizure of property through a lien attachment
- Changed child custody arrangements
- Jail time
Even if a contempt order is not entered, a judge may still garnish wages or attach liens to the property owned by the former spouse or parent.
The establishment of a child’s paternity has long-lasting consequences. In addition to being required to provide child support, men who are identified as fathers may also be entitled to exercise their custody and visitation rights.
Determining Paternity in Missouri
A paternity action may be brought by the mother or by the father anytime before a child’s 18th birthday. A child between the ages of 18 and 21 may seek to have paternity established. Before taking steps to establish paternity, contact the attorneys at The Center for Family Law to discuss the options available.
Child Support, Custody and Visitation in Paternity Cases
Missouri law does not distinguish between married and unmarried parents when it comes to child support, custody and visitation.
The Form 14 Child Support Amount Calculation Worksheet distills a variety of factors that are considered in the calculation of child support. The judge may deviate from the amount computed through the use of Form 14 if certain circumstances exist.
The court bases its child custody or visitation decision on the best interests of the child. By law, the judge must consider certain factors when making the determination. Some of those factors include the wishes of the parents, the child’s need to have a meaningful relationship with both parents, the mental and physical health of the parents and the child’s wishes.
Contact The Law Firm of Lorri Kline
For help with a paternity matter, contact the experienced Central Missouri Attorney at The Law Firm of Lorri Kline. We are conveniently located downtown Columbia to assist you.
Life is all about change, and perhaps nowhere is this more evident than the field of family law. A parent may need to relocate; the economic circumstances of a party in a divorce or child support case may change; or one party in a divorce or child custody or support case may fail to follow the original judgment, necessitating a motion to modify the original judgment.
The Law Offices of Lorri Klinw represent clients who wish to file a motion to modify.
Modification of Judgments
For a final decree to be modified, Missouri law requires proof of a change in circumstances sufficient to render the original decree no longer reasonable.
There are several types of motions to modify:
Motion to modify child support: Common reasons for seeking a modification of child support include a change in the economic circumstances of the parent who is paying child support or the parent who is receiving child support a change in the custody arrangement between the parents and increased school or extracurricular expenses for the child.
Motion to modify child custody or visitation: Modification of a child custody or visitation arrangement may be sought for many different reasons. The following are some of the most common reasons:
- As children grow, scheduling needs may change.
- There are concerns about the child’s welfare.
- A parent wishes to relocate outside the state.
Motion to modify spousal support: Modifications to spousal support, also known as maintenance or alimony, are often sought when there is a substantial change in the financial resources of either party, the earning capacities of the parties or remarriage or cohabitation.
If the parties agree to the modification, the action is referred to as an uncontested motion to modify. A stipulation is filed with the court authorizing the change. Depending on the nature of the modification, a hearing may not be needed.
When a motion to modify is contested, the party seeking the modification has the burden of proving that a continuing substantial change in circumstances has occurred. A contested motion to modify may be resolved through mediation, litigation or the collaborative process.
Contact The Law Offices of Lorri Klinw
For more information on motions to modify child support, child custody, spousal support or visitation, contact the experienced Central Missouri attorney of The Law Offices of Lorri Kline.
Partners who are not married face special challenges in ensuring that their rights are protected and their wishes honored. We have particular experience in assisting unmarried and same-sex partners in resolving the issues that come with these relationships.
Same-Sex Partners and Unmarried Couples
The members of same-sex and unmarried couples live together, raise children, save money and care for each other just as married spouses do. Unfortunately, the legal protections extended to these couples are not the same as those enjoyed by couples considered married under Missouri law.
The best time to meet with an attorney is before an issue arises. Same-sex and unmarried couples who wait to put their wishes in legal form run the risk of being denied access to a loved one in the healthcare setting. When same-sex parents dissolve a union, one parent may be denied access to the child the couple has raised together. If one of the partners dies, the other may not receive the assets and property the couple worked together to accumulate over the course of a lifetime together.
An attorney can give you the legal tools you need to protect your loved one, yourself and your family. The Law Firm of Lorri Kline , our representation of unmarried and same-sex partners includes:
- Domestic partnership agreements
- “Living together” agreements
- Nontraditional family dissolution
- Partition suits to divide real estate
- Division of assets
- Child custody and visitation
- Child support
Even though gay marriage has been legalized, people are still opting, or remaining with just a domestic partnership. One of the foreseen benefits of this would be to avoid the federal income tax penalty on marriage. We are finding that opposite-sex couples are taking advantage of this loophole as well. As a result of this, combined with the people that previously received a Domestic Partnership in another state before they moved to the state, Columbia and the entire state of Missouri is still seeing a good number of domestic partnerships.
Columbia gay marriage divorce and domestic partnership termination
As with traditional heterosexual couples, some parties unfortunately decide to terminate their gay marriage or domestic partnership. The Law firm of Lorri Kline offer legal assistance for Domestic Partnership termination in Columbia, as well as Divorce in Columbia, and any other area in the state of Missouri.
WE CAN HELP WITH YOUR DOMESTIC PARTNERSHIP TERMINATION OR SAME SEX DIVORCE CASE IN COLUMBIA.
The Law Offices of Lorri Klinw can help with any the following issues:
- Domestic Partnership Agreements
- Domestic Partnership Termination
- Property division
- Spousal Support
- Child Support
- Child Custody
- Prenuptial Agreements
- Asset Divisions
- Guardianship Issues
- Health Care Situations
- Immigration Issues
At the Law Offices of Lorri Kline our Columbia domestic partnership attorneys support equal rights for everyone – regardless of sex, gender, nationality, or sexual orientation. Contact our experienced team today to handle your same sex divorce or domestic partnership case.