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Arkansas and Missouri Family Law

Family matters are deeply personal, but when there’s a dispute like divorce or a custody or support issue, courts may need to get involved to help resolve the conflict. Even when it was your idea to go to court, it can be difficult to have someone outside your family in control of what happens to those personal relationships.

Finding yourself in court means that something important has gone wrong in your closest relationships: a marriage just isn’t working out, or you and your child’s other parent cannot agree on what’s best for them. On top of these changes to your closest relationships, the court becomes involved in decisions that used to be private.

The Graham Law Firm PLLC understands how stressful family law disputes can be. Attorney Lauren Graham’s approach is twofold: first, to help put you back in control; and second, to help you achieve the best outcome in your family law matter, so you can move forward with your life.

Divorce

Marriage is not just a legal relationship; it’s a financial and emotional one. Divorce involves all of those aspects, too. Lauren Graham listens to your story and your needs, explains how the law applies to your situation, and helps you create a roadmap to achieve your goals. Divorce is never easy, but Lauren empowers you by helping you know what to expect and giving you the information you need to make good decisions.

The divorce process involves dividing your assets, and may involve establishing alimony (or, as it’s called in Missouri, “spousal support” or “spousal maintenance”). In most divorces, spouses are able to reach a settlement agreement on these and other issues, and the divorce does not have to go to trial. Settlement is preferable because it allows you, not a judge, to set the terms of your divorce. Settlement also means you avoid the expense of a trial.

That said, your divorce settlement sets the tone for your future, and it’s something you will have to live with for a long time. Many people are tempted to rush into settlement just to have the divorce behind them, but that is usually a mistake. Lauren Graham is an effective negotiator who will help ensure that the terms of your divorce settlement are favorable to you, and that you understand all your rights and obligations.

In the unlikely event that you are unable to reach settlement, Lauren Graham is also an experienced litigator who can protect your interests if your divorce must go to trial.

Child Custody and Support

If you are a parent ending a marriage or relationship, the well-being of your children is one of your biggest concerns. Where will your children live? How much time will you get to spend with them? Who will make important decisions about their health, education, and religion? And how will child support work?

Child custody in both Missouri and Arkansas is decided based on “the best interests of the child.” There are two types of child custody: physical custody, which means which parent a child lives with; and legal custody, meaning who gets to make important decisions for the child. Often, custody is joint, so that both parents share in important parenting decisions (in Missouri, joint custody is presumed to be in the best interests of the child). Child support is based on a complex formula involving the parents’ relative incomes and the amount of time the child spends in each of their homes.

Lauren will work to make sure your children’s needs are prioritized, and that your relationship with them is preserved and strengthened.

Paternity

Children deserve the love and support of both parents. In particular, a biological father has the duty to support his child. It may be necessary to legally establish paternity in order to put in place an order for child support, so that the child can receive the financial support they deserve. Lauren Graham represents both mothers and fathers in Arkansas and Missouri paternity actions.

Guardianship

It is usually best for one or both parents to care for their child. When that is not possible, a guardian must be appointed to be legally responsible for the child. A parent may voluntarily allow a guardian to be appointed for their child, or an interested person can petition the court for guardianship if they believe the parent is not fit to care for the child. As with custody matters, Arkansas and Missouri courts decide guardianship cases based on what is in the best interests of the child.

Attorney Lauren Graham represents guardians and prospective guardians and parents in both Arkansas and Missouri guardianship matters.

If you are facing a family law dispute, you deserve to work with an attorney who cares about your goals for your family and will work with you to achieve them. Contact The Graham Law Firm to schedule a consultation.