Divorce and Child Custody

Family court helps survivors break free from a circle of domestic violence and achieve a sense of individuality and independence. Jane Doe represents survivors of sexual violence in family court cases, mainly focusing on two core areas.

Divorce and Legal Separation.  If you are married to an abusive partner, then you may be considering a divorce. A divorce may involve several issues depending on the specific circumstances of each family. Issues commonly involved in a divorce include maintenance/alimony and dividing property, financial assets, and debts. Jane Doe lawyers work with clients to work through these and other issues that arise when considering and pursuing a divorce. For some people, divorce is not an option because of personal circumstances or beliefs. In these cases, a legal separation may be an alternative. The issues in a legal separation are similar to those in a divorce as two people prepare to separate and go their own ways. At the end of a legal separation, however, the parties are not free to remarry since they are still legally married.

Child Custody and Visitation. If you are leaving an abusive partner and share children with that person, then upon informal separation, you will automatically share equal rights to custody of those children. This can be changed with a formal court order. If the co-parent is your current spouse, then issues of child custody, visitation, and support will become a part of your divorce or legal separation. If you are not married to the co-parent, then issues regarding the children will be handled separately by the court. When determining a custody plan and/or visitation schedule, the court focuses on what is in the objective best interests of the children involved. A separate attorney, called a guardian ad litem (“GAL”), may be appointed to investigate and represent the best interests of the children in a custody case.

Child Support. If you have a divorce or child custody case in family court, then child support will most likely be calculated and addressed in that case. If not, you can file for child support through the state. There are pros and cons to seeking a child support order outside of family court, depending particularly on issues relating to custody, visitation, and the receipt of state benefits. You should carefully consider your options for seeking child support before deciding whether to go through the state or family court.

In some cases, family court issues can be resolved through mediation, negotiation, and/or collaboration.  Jane Doe lawyers are happy to help facilitate these out-of-court settlements in order to achieve a desirable outcome that creates as little disturbance as possible to the family unit, particularly when children are involved. If those efforts are unsuccessful, then Jane Doe is ready to litigate and work hard to achieve a fair outcome at trial. At each stage of the process, the client is kept informed of the circumstances, educated about the legal process, and is in charge of making final decisions.

If you have been impacted by sexual violence and want to speak with a Jane Doe lawyer about issues in family court, please call 314.329.5339. Or, to schedule a safe time for an attorney to call you, please click here to visit our online scheduler.