St. Louis, Missouri Divorce, Child Support and Custody Lawyer
Law Firm OverviewCynthia Moseley Fox, Attorney at Law has handled all matters of family law in the surrounding areas of St. Louis, Missouri with more than 25 years of caring and effective representation.
Our goal is to guide you through your divorce in a constructive and peaceful manner. We want our clients to focus on the future and put to rest any troubles with your marriage or disputes during your divorce. During this time in your life, you have many questions and may be conflicted about what the right answers are. Whether or not you are currently going through a divorce or are just thinking about the possibility, Cynthia Fox can counsel you and provide expert legal advice for how to constructively move forward with your life.
Year this Office was Established: 1984
Areas of Law
Additional Areas of Law: Spousal Support Mediation; Modifying Existing Child Support; Spousal Support and Child Custody Orders; PDL Motions; Garnishment; Contempt Motions; Spousal Abuse / Physical Abuse / Adult Abuse; Family Mediation; Divorce Mediation.
Areas of Law Description
Cynthia Moseley Fox, Attorney at Law provides legal representation and services in the area of family law:
- Divorce Representation
Cynthia Fox has represented hundreds of clients, both men and women, as their attorney in a divorce action. It is unlikely that there is a divorce situation or issue that Cindy has not dealt with before. From all this experience, Cynthia Fox has developed a new approach called the ConstructiveDivorce®. The goal is to help clients end the fighting and focus on the future, while also vigorously representing their interests, but without the combativeness of the traditional divorce approach. The intended result is that clients are able to move into the next state of their lives feeling whole and with their financial and emotional resources intact, and their family relationships preserved. Divorce is the legal termination of a marriage between husband and wife by judgment of the court. Typically it will involve issues such as dividing up the marital property (assets and debts), arranging for custody of children, and devising a written plan spelling out the parental responsibilities.
- Divorce Mediation
More and more, people are seeking mediation as a less combative way of terminating their marriage. This is typically less costly...both financially and emotionally for both parties. Cynthia Fox is a trained and court-approved mediator who has helped many clients with the mediation approach.
What is Mediation? Divorce mediation is a process where the spouses meet with Cynthia Fox in her role as mediator. She acts to facilitate the informed and consensual resolution of the issues at stake. She will work on behalf of each of you for information to be provided. She will also make you aware of options to making effective decisions. After all issues are resolved, Cynthia Fox then drafts the settlement documents to reflect those resolutions for presentation to the court. Most of the expense in most divorces is agreeing to a settlement. Current law does not allow the mediator to present the settlement to the court.
- Child Support
By law, each parent owes a duty of financial support to their children, whether married to each other or not. Given that, in a divorce or legal separation proceeding, or in a petition for child support filed by one parent upon the other, the court will likely conclude that child support is payable, typically from the non-custodial parent to the parent with primary physical custody of the child. The exception would tend to be in those situations where each parent has physical custody for an equal amount of time, and each parent’s earnings are roughly the same.
- Child Custody & Parenting Plans
Child Custody or Parenting Plans pertain to non-financial support issues about the children of divorcing or divorced parents, as well as to children of unmarried parents. Child custody issues can be changed by a court when there are big, continuing changes or when it is in the best interest of the child. Cynthia Fox has handled many custody cases, and has provided many different types of parenting plans to suit the needs of the particular families at stake.
- Spousal Support / Alimony
Spousal Support, which is also known as Spousal Maintenance and which was formerly called Alimony, is the monthly payment at a set and designated amount by one former spouse to the other in order to assist the recipient provide for his/her reasonable needs (i.e. living expenses).
- Spousal Abuse / Physical Abuse / Adult Abuse
If you or someone you know is a victim of spousal abuse/ physical abuse/ adult abuse, either threatened or real, your/their immediate priority has to be securing your/their physical safety. Moving to a safe, protected location, be that the home of a friend or relative or a shelter for domestic violence victims, should be your/their first step. Accordingly, please see our listing of domestic violence telephone hotlines serving the St. Louis metropolitan area, where you can learn about the various options available to domestic violence victims.
- PDL Motions
A “PDL Motion”, which is filed with the petition for divorce or legal separation, or any time afterward, by either party. In it, one spouse can ask that the court order the other spouse to provide them with financial relief for their living expenses, support for their children, even pay that party’s attorney fees. Once issued, the order remains in place until further amended by the court, until the divorce is dismissed, or until the final divorce judgment is entered. (“PDL” is short for Pendente Lite, which is Latin for “pending litigation”.) PDL motions are not granted automatically—having a good attorney helps. Importantly, none of these protections, nor the financial relief, is automatic upon filing the motion. The court must agree with their necessity and order their implementation. Cynthia Fox brings the compassion, experience and skill required in dealing with these situations and in seeing that the appropriate level of support and protection is provided.
- Paternity Cases
The purpose of a paternity case is to legally establish the father of a child born out of wedlock. To determine paternity, a simple DNA lab test is needed. Once the court finds that a particular person is the father of a child born out of wedlock, the man will have the same parental rights and obligations to the child as if the child had been born to married parents. For example, a parenting plan will be required identifying the custody rights of both father and mother. The court will also determine how much child support, if any, one parent will have to pay to the other.
- Pre-Nuptial Agreements
Pre-nuptial agreements are commonly viewed as something only the wealthy need. However, their benefits can be of value to any couple engaged to be married, whether well-to-do or of more modest means. These agreements describe in writing what will happen in the event the couple’s marriage ends, whether by divorce or the death of one spouse. It can identify what will happen to the assets the couple owns, how much one party will pay to the other in spousal support and for how long, and even delineate what the surviving spouse will receive in the event of the other spouse’s death.
- Division of Property
Property division applies to married couples. A primary requirement in each divorce case is to divide all the property. That means both the assets and the debts. It also means identifying which assets or debts are not to be shared with the other spouse. Cynthia Fox has years of experience in assessing individual and marital assets to determine their fair and proper distribution. Her experience allows her to proactively guide this process so that each client's individual needs are met.
- Family Mediation
In 25 years of practicing family law, hundreds have come to Cynthia Fox in great pain, yet uncertain, about divorce--certainly many more than the number who come in confident that divorce is the answer. To respond, she has developed a special area of practice-Marital Crossroads Consultations. More lately, with her training as a Certified Mediator, she has begun exploring how these techniques can be used by couples to productively identify and resolve marital issues. Cynthia believes professional mediation can help couples avoid divorce by providing them a structured and cooperative way to resolve on-going marital conflicts. In addition, by participating in mediation, these couples will be exposed to conflict-resolution and negotiation techniques that they can reemploy for positive outcomes for the rest of their lives. Of course, these approaches should not substitute for therapy or marital counseling, nor do they automatically lead to saving a marriage. Instead, they are short-term and focused intervention techniques that provide a positive starting point for moving forward.
Situations sometimes arise where a person is either unable or unwilling to make court-ordered payments, e.g. to provide for his or her spouse and/or child. In these cases, garnishment is a tool available to try to convert the court order into "money". Cynthia Fox has diligently worked to ensure that court-ordered payments are made to the people who need them. Often clients depend greatly upon such court-ordered monetary payments. Cynthia realizes this fact and works diligently to use all available means to ensure that her client's needs are met.
- Contempt Motions
In cases involving divorce, child custody and child support, court orders are not always followed in some way, or even not at all. The aggrieved party must then bring this to the court's attention in order to seek that the order be complied with. This is done with a "contempt motion". Someone charged with contempt of court can defend themselves if they can prove that they were unable to comply through no fault or action of their own. (For example, the person has no assets to satisfy the judgment and that person did not purposely waste or dispose of their assets.) The court can jail someone found in contempt until the person complies with the court order, and/or assess a daily fine until the judgment is performed, as well as order attorney fees, in order to bring about compliance. Cynthia Fox has extensive experience using contempt motions to bring about compliance on her clients' behalf.
- Modification of Judgments
Change is a fact of life. After a divorce or paternity judgment is made as to support, the income of the parties can change so much that a new level of support should be established. Typically, the court would order a change when the new level of support, as determined by the state's guidelines, would be 20% more (or less than) the amount of support last ordered by the court. In addition, it is possible for support to change just because a child's expenses have dramatically increased, e.g. a child is now driving a car, or attending college or vocational school. Custody issues may also need to be re-addressed if the last court ordered custody plan is no longer in the best interest of the child. An example of that would be if a parent wants to move his or her residence, and the move would occasion a need to change the parenting plan's schedule. Or, a parent wanting to move out of state or a parent that wants to change the schedule so that the child is with the parent more are all examples of a need to re-address the last court ordered plan.
Ms. Cynthia Moseley Fox
Adoption, Alimony, Child Custody and Visitation, Child Support, Divorce
- Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis
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Cynthia Moseley Fox, Attorney at Law News and Publications
Articles Published by Cynthia Moseley Fox, Attorney at Law
Absent substantiated claims of abuse by the father or some other significant shortcoming in fulfilling his role as father, the court would not likely approve a substantial reduction in his time based upon his children expressing a preference for their mom. At least not for kids under 15, which is when the court begins to defer to the wishes of the child.Read Article
Divorce is, quite literally, a termination point. A union of two lives, whether over several years or just a few months, comes to an end with the strike of a judge’s gavel. At that moment, one road travelled together ends and two new roads must be built and navigated separately.Read Article
One of the hardest things about divorce is its cost, not just emotionally and psychologically, but in cold hard cash. A typical scenario is a husband, wife and two attorneys. Add the expense of outside experts if there are disputes over who can better parent their children or the valuation of an asset such as a business that one or both owns, and the bottom line is fees well into five figures for each party.Read Article
“I think my wife is having an affair. What should I do?” The man asking is in my office and thinking about a divorce. His wife’s possible affair is one of several reasons.Read Article
Involving the police usually solves the problem, if the police will intervene on your behalf. Sometimes, though, they are reluctant to step into what they see as a squabble between private parties, not realizing that their reluctance emboldens the recalcitrant spouse to push the envelope further.Read Article
A parent that willfully refuses to return a child at the time indicated in a valid court order, without good cause, commits a Class D felony of child abduction punishable by up to four years in prison.Read Article
A wage assignment is a great first step for anyone with a delinquent “ex”, particularly one that’s steadily employed for someone else. And, for the person with limited means needing comprehensive assistance, CSE can’t be beat, although their high caseload often means it can take 6 to 9 months or more for CSE to execute their administrative options of tapping into someone’s wages or placing a lien on their bank account.Read Article
Stepparents, grandparents, siblings and others parenting children not their own were especially vulnerable should the child’s natural parent(s) decide to end that relationship. Today, the rights of “third party parents”, especially grandparents, are afforded more protection than a generation ago, but these rights still remain distinctly subservient to those of the natural parents.Read Article
With the way human reproduction works, there is rarely controversy about the mother’s identity. The birth certificate states who is the mother. But, dad’s identity can be subject to question, even in seemingly stable relationships. When that question arises, the only conclusive determination is through testing matching up the DNA characteristics of child, mother and father.Read Article
“Should I move out?” I hear this often from those contemplating divorce. Typically, it’s the husband asking and he is initiating the divorce. He is worried about giving up his interest in the house, and the right to return.Read Article
Family Court judges spend much of their day hearing the awful things warring spouses say and do to each other. They become jaded and are reluctant to penalize one spouse for their misconduct, even when it’s admitted, be it infidelity, excessive gambling, substance abuse, or even abusive behavior, unless it is to the extreme of what they hear day in and day out.Read Article
The reason divorce lawyers counsel against dating while the divorce is pending, even if separated, is that it has the potential to increase both the cost and the stress of the divorce trial. You are not supposed to date if you are married. Judges, however, rarely punish someone who begins dating—sexually or otherwise—once they have physically separated from their spouse.Read Article
“Loose Lips”: Close Friends and Some Therapists can Be Forced to Reveal Your Secrets in a Divorce Trial
In Missouri, counselors not a member of one of the classes I’ve named can be compelled to testify about the details revealed in a therapy session, although this occurs rarely and in only the most divisive cases. Further, a conversation with a minister may not be protected if that person is not then functioning as your “spiritual advisor, confessor, counselor or comforter”.Read Article