Saint Joseph Missouri Family Law Lawyer

Few things in life are as emotionally traumatic as a family law issue. In addition to the events that are forever altering your family composition, there are also a number of practical and financial considerations that will affect your day-to-day life for years to come. Having children involved creates some of the most complex family law cases. 

The Eslinger Law Firm, LLC in Saint Joseph assists clients through the stressful time created by divorce and other family law matters. If you need family law services, you’ll want to speak to an experienced attorney who understands your legal issue and what you’re going through. Contact the Eslinger Law Firm in Saint Joseph, MO to discuss your case. 

Family walk through the park

Family Law Matters and Practice Areas

As a family law attorney, Jason Eslinger handles everything from divorce cases to child custody issues to asset divisions of multi-million dollar estates. These are some of the many legal services that he offers his clients. 


Even if you don’t have children or many assets, a family law attorney can protect your rights and expedite the handling of your divorce. When children or large or multiple assets are involved, an experienced family law attorney is essential.

Child Custody Disputes and Visitation Rights

Few things in family law are as contentious as child custody disputes. The state of Missouri prefers legal custody arrangements where both parents have access to the child. However, if the parents can’t agree on a parenting plan that’s in the best interests of the child and both parents, the court may appoint one parent as the residential parent for the purpose of school and mail. That does not mean that the legal right of the other parent has been diminished, but it can affect child support calculations. 

If for whatever reason, the court awards custody to a single parent, the opposing party can petition for visitation rights. This would enable the parent to have periodic meetings with the child or children. If domestic violence prevents you from seeing your children, talk to an experienced divorce attorney about visitation rights. 

Child Support 

In most cases, the court uses a child support calculator to decide which parent must pay and by how much. If the court determines that the state calculator produces an unjust result, they can adjust the child support payments accordingly. Child support can also be modified if the income level or physical custody of the child changes. 

Spousal Support (Alimony)

There are several types of alimony available to spouses in divorce cases. The court will consider whether the spouse needs temporary, periodic, or ongoing alimony. Temporary alimony usually only lasts until the divorce is final. Periodic custody helps the receiving spouse acclimate to living without the support of the other party. Spousal support is not always awarded. Speak to a family law attorney about your need for alimony.

Kid playing in room

Paternity Actions 

Paternity cases work both ways in family law. You may be a father who believes you’re the biological father of a child but have no legal rights until you can prove it. Or you could be the mother of a child and want to establish paternity so you can receive child support. Contact our family law firm to discuss your paternity issue. 

Postnuptial and Prenuptial Agreements

Sometimes, a family law matter can be avoided with careful planning. Prenuptial and postnuptial marital agreements seek to simplify a divorce, should one occur. Our Saint Joseph, MO family law firm can prepare a prenuptial agreement that addresses what would happen in a divorce. A postnuptial agreement works similarly to a prenup, but it occurs after the legal marriage has been initiated instead of before. This could address legal matters regarding a new or existing business, marital property, child custody, child support — anything that could potentially be a problem if the marriage was dissolved. 

Domestic Violence Protection

If your relationship has been affected by domestic violence, you may need to file an injunction for your safety. Our Saint Joseph, MO law firm can help you obtain a restraining order from the Buchanan County courthouse.

On the other hand, if you’ve been accused of domestic violence, Mr. Eslinger is an experienced criminal defense attorney who also represents clients in family law matters. 

Asset and Debt Distribution

In most divorces, the parties must divide marital assets and debt. Because Missouri is an equitable distribution state, the courts will generally approve a divorce settlement that fairly divides net assets and debt. That does not mean that you have to sell your house and divide the proceeds. Both assets and debts can be offset by other items. Family law attorneys are trained to have the legal expertise to tabulate and divide the marital balance sheet.  

Why You Need a Family Law Attorney

Family law attorneys can use their training and knowledge to address your legal needs. The family courts in Missouri are more likely to approve divorces, custody, and child support agreements that equally benefit all family members involved. While you are not required by law to hire a family law attorney, if the other party has hired a family law firm, it would be in your best interest to hire an attorney to help you navigate the legal system. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Family Law

Individuals who seek out family law attorneys in Missouri often have similar questions. Here are some of the most common questions asked by clients who come to our Saint Joseph office for legal advice. 

Is there legal separation in Missouri?

Yes, under Missouri law, matrimonial lawyers may petition the courts for a legal separation. It can address certain legal issues, such as residency, child custody, etc., without triggering a divorce. 

Who qualifies for divorce under Missouri law?

In order to file for divorce, one party must have lived in the state for 90 days prior to filing. 

Is Missouri a “no-fault” state when it comes to divorce?

Yes, unlike other states where there are grounds for divorce, Missouri allows the petitioning party to file for divorce by stating that the marriage is irretrievably broken. 

For specific questions about divorce or another legal situation, contact our St. Joseph law firm to discuss any family law legal issue. 

Private Practice Family Law Attorney in Northwest Missouri

Jason Eslinger is a family law and divorce lawyer who runs his practice with a high degree of professionalism and compassion. In addition to divorce and family law, Mr. Eslinger’s practice areas include criminal defense and personal injury law. If you need any of these services, contact our St. Joseph office and speak to a staff member who will schedule a legal consultation with attorney Eslinger. Call today