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What is a petition for child custody?

There are some situations where a Missouri court may establish child support orders but not establish custody orders. Another common situation is when you have established paternity but custody was never set by the court. If you are in either situation, then you may need to file a petition for child custody, which according to the Missouri Courts, is a petition requesting a hearing for custody of your child.

This petition allows you to create a parenting plan, which you include with the petition. This plan outlines the details of custody and visitation. You will explain what your rights are and what the other parent's rights are when it comes to parenting and taking care of your child.

To file the petition, you need the correct forms from the court. You also need a certified copy of your child's birth certificate. You may also need documentation proving paternity, along with any related court orders, such as child support. Once you have all the paperwork, you can file it with the court that has jurisdiction over your child. The court will send the orders to the other parent. You will also pay a fee for court services.

After 30 days in which the other parent may respond, you will get a court date. If the other parent does not respond or show up to court, the court issues a default judgment in your favor based on the parenting plan you provided with your petition. If the other parent does file a response, you may go to mediation to work out a parenting plan you both agree to. Otherwise, you may both go to court and the court will decide on the plan. This information is for education and is not legal advice.

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