The Zimmerman Law Firm, LLC is a general practice law firm located in St. Charles, Missouri. Angelyn Zimmerman is an attorney who demonstrates a personal approach to family law in St. Louis. Angelyn offers high quality representation with a steadfast commitment to ethical and professional practices. Angelyn’s practiced areas include all aspects of family law, including divorce, separation, modifications and child custody matters. In addition, the law office serves the needs of the AFL-CIO unions and their members. Please browse our site to learn more about The Zimmerman Law Firm, St. Louis’ premier family law office.
What is a “PDL”?
Update to Child Support Law
Mediation Part 2- “The Typical Session”
This is a follow-up to my prior post, “Mediation and its use in Family Law.” When people choose to use mediation to resolve their divorce, paternity, or modification case, they will first choose a mediator. After they have chosen their mediator and set up an appointment, they will be ready to begin the process. A mediator will (typically) meet with both parties simultaneously. Every mediator has his/her own style, but most of the mediators in this area tend to have both parties in the same room together. Occasionally (but not usually), the parties’ attorneys attend as well. The mediator will usually begin by describing the process and setting forth the rules (e.g., no talking when the other is speaking, be respectful to the other party- at least during mediation). Mediation is confidential unless unreported child abuse is revealed or a threat is made to the other party. The parties will then begin discussing their issues. How it proceeds from there will depend largely upon the individual mediator’s style. Many (like me) are facilitative in nature and interrupt as needed to keep the conversation productive and suggest possible solutions. A session is typically two hours in length and can be followed up with additional sessions as needed.
Mediation and its use in Family Law
Many people in Missouri still don’t know what mediation is, even though it is increasingly used in other parts of the country and world to settle “family law” disputes. Mediation is a process whereby the parties sit down with a neutral third party (the “mediator”) to resolve the issues that they are facing. In St. Charles County, it is mandated by rule that people with custody disputes are supposed to attend mediation prior to going to trial unless there is a good solid reason not to (like abuse in the relationship). It can be an effective, less costly way to resolve family law issues. Because it involves less conflict, it can be less harmful to children. I am a trained mediator, and there are several other attorneys and mental health professionals who are as well.
Emancipation for Purposes of Child Support
People often want to know how old the kids have to be before they are no longer required to pay/entitled to receive child support. In Missouri, the answer depends upon whether the child attends college. If the child enrolls in college by October following his/her graduation from high school, he/she remains eligible for child support until age 21 as long as he/she attends the requisite number of course hours each semester and complies with statutory guidelines. If the child does not attend college, child support terminates at the later of when the child turns 18 or graduates from high school. The child is also emancipated if he/she joins the military or gets married.
Many people have questions about how child support is calculated. In Missouri, we calculate child support using what is called the “Form 14.” It is based upon the gross wages of each parent and some additional expenses based upon the child, like daycare and health insurance. The parent paying support also typically receives a “visitation credit” based on his/her number of overnights with the child. The maximum visitation credit allowed in the State of Missouri is 34%. However, any credit above 10% is discretionary by the judge.
What does a Guardian ad Litem do?
A Guardian ad Litem (GAL) is an attorney who is appointed by the Court to represent the best interests of the child(ren). The GAL will typically interview both parties, the child(ren) (depending upon age), and sometimes other interested people. The GAL will then make a report to the Court as to the custody arrangement he/she feels will be in the best interests of the child(ren).
Legal Separation v. Divorce
Often people assume that when they file for divorce they are then “legally separated.” This is incorrect. To be legally separated, you have to file a petition with the Court. It is a proceeding that is done instead of divorce rather than as a part of the divorce proceeding. People often choose legal separation rather than divorce for religious purposes, or, occasionally, to allow one party to maintain eligibility for the other’s health insurance.
Welcome to my new website. I am still working on developing some of the FAQs. I hope to get them finished soon. Enjoy!