Laurie A. Knight, Attorney At Law Classic Solutions | Life-Long Results

Chesterfield Child Custody Attorney

Fighting for Your Rights in St. Louis County

Father with custody of his childThere are two distinct types of child custody: legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody is the decision-making power of the parent in determining the health, education, religion, and welfare of the minor child. Physical custody is the assignment of parenting time with the minor child.

If you are navigating divorce and need help with a child custody matter, you can find the high-quality representation you are seeking at Laurie A. Knight, Attorney at Law, LLC. Laurie treats every client with the respect they deserve, taking the time to develop a customized and strategic approach for every unique family law case. At her firm, you are more than just a case number – you are a valued client and an equal.

Call Laurie at (636) 200-5533 to schedule a consultation. She offers flexible scheduling for your convenience.

Joint & Sole Custody

Both legal and physical custody can be further subdivided into sole or joint custody. Sole legal custody means that only one parent has the decision-making power in regards to the child’s education, religion, health, and welfare. Joint legal custody is when the parents make the decisions together.

Sole physical custody means that one parent is the primary custodian of the child and the other parent has limited parental time. One example of sole physical custody is when one parent has custodial time every other weekend. Joint physical custody means that the parents share the custodial time but does not necessarily mean equally shared time. Courts prefer joint legal and joint physical custody.

Guardians ad Litem

The court will appoint a Guardian ad Litem to represent the best interests of the minor child in the proceeding if deemed necessary. However, a Guardian ad Litem will automatically be appointed when one of the parents allege abuse or neglect of the child. The Guardian ad Litem will meet with the parents and the child, depending upon the age of the child. The Guardian ad Litem will participate in all court hearings and settlement conferences that occur during the pendency of the case. The Guardian ad Litem may present evidence at trial and cross-examine all witnesses. Once a final determination is made as to child custody, visitation, and support, the Court will order the parties to pay for the Guardian ad Litem fees in an equitable fashion.

When determining child custody, the Court must determine what is in the child’s best interests. Each party may have a different view as to what is best for the child. The Court will look at various factors when determining the best interest of the child.

These factors include, but are not limited to:

  • Each party’s ability to properly parent the child
  • The parties’ ability to confer with each other regarding child-related issues
  • The Guardian ad Litem’s recommendation

The Court is interested in the child’s opinion as to where he or she would like to live; however, the Court must make all decisions based upon the best interest test.

Can a Guardian ad Litem Recommend Sole Custody?

Though many courts favor joint custody, a Guardian ad Litem can recommend sole custody if they don’t believe joint custody is in the best interest of the child. If a case involves abuse or neglect, a Guardian ad Litem would mostly like recommend sole custody.


When a parent wants to relocate, the existing child custody order may be affected. The State of Missouri has a relocation statute that must be followed when a parent desires to relocate. The statute requires proper notice to the other parent. The other parent can object to the relocation. If this occurs, the court will have a hearing to determine whether the parent requesting relocation is allowed to relocate with the child. Relocation is a major issue for today’s parents due to the nature of the economy and the movement of corporations from state to state.

Child Support

Along with deciding child custody, the Court will order child support. In the State of Missouri, child support is calculated by a child support calculation form, called Form 14. Form 14 calculates the child support amount based upon the parties’ gross income, child care costs, possibly extraordinary costs of the child, and healthcare costs. Further, the form takes into consideration how many overnights the child spends with each party. The maximum overnight visitation credit allowed is 50%. The Court will order one of the parties to maintain health insurance for the child. Further, the Court can make a determination as to how extraordinary expenses, out-of-pocket healthcare expenses, and private school or college expenses are to be paid. Finally, the Court will determine how the child dependency exemption is allocated each tax year.

To learn more about your rights and options regarding child custody, contact Chesterfield child custody attorney Laurie A. Knight at (636) 200-5533.

Why Choose Attorney Laurie Knight?

  • Free Consultation

    Every initial consultation is free of charge. No hidden fees!

  • Extensive Experience

    Attorney Knight has been perfecting her legal practice for over a decade.

  • Excellent Work Ethic

    Attorney Knight handles each case with respect and the utmost diligence.

  • Flexible Appointment Schedules

    Attorney Knight is available when YOU need help. All appointment times are flexible.

  • Personal Approach

    Every case is personal and no client is left in the dark.

  • Classic & Professional

    Attorney Knight values professionalism and integrity with every case and every client.

Contact Us Today!

How to Reach Us 636.200.5533 13321 N. Outer 40 Road, Suite 500
Chesterfield, MO 63017 Map & Directions [+]
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