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Kansas City Domestic & Family Law

Domestic & Family Law issues are very emotional, our understanding Attorneys can help you through this difficult time.You may contact our Attorneys today for assistance with your Kansas Name Change —  Guardianship/Conservatorship — Step-parent Adoption — Divorce — or Annulment case.

The term Domestic covers a wide area of law. At minimum it can be used to describe cases that fall in to the following legal issues. Each area comes with its own rules and set of complicated procedures. Below is a brief overview of common terminology; however, only an attorney experienced in these areas, such as those at Walden & Pfannenstiel, LLC can fully answer questions as they apply to your specific circumstances.

Our lawyers are unable to accept post-decree, child support, custody, and Missouri cases at this time.


Domestic Violence

  • Domestic Violence includes abuse and, in general, is physically harming or threatening to harm another person. It also includes placing another in fear of physical harm. Domestic violence may include one or more of the following and other similar actions:
  1. Physical or sexual assault, such as hitting, punching, pushing, shoving, choking, kicking, threatening with a weapon, forcible rape or sodomy,
  2. Intimidation to the point of placing you in fear,
  3. Electronic communication harassment,
  4. Holding you against your will, and
  5. Stalking.

Domestic Violence need only occur one time and may result in the need for a Protection from Abuse Order (PFA). If the abuse or threat is coming from someone outside an intimate relationship, a Protection from Stalking Order may be necessary. Unlike the PFA, more than one incident must be proven for a Protection from Stalking Order to be entered.

Family Law

  • Name Changes require that you first file a petition with the court. After a petition has been filed, it is necessary to give notice. In order for notice to be established, you must publish your intent to change your name in the newspaper for three consecutive weeks. These publications must be filed with the court. A hearing will be scheduled. At the hearing you will explain to the judge why you feel that your name should be changed, as well as, show proof of your noticing the public.
  • Guardianship allows someone else to act as if they were you; however, a guardianship cannot be created voluntarily. It is granted by a judge. A guardianship is similar to a parent/child relationship, except that a guardian is not held legally responsible for the acts of the other person and guardians do not have to use their own money to provide for the other. They are generally given when someone may no longer take care of themselves or a minor under their control. Guardianships may be granted to take care of adults and/or children. An example is when grandparents are raising a grandchild.
  • Conservatorships are similar to guardianships but they only give a person the power to manage someone else’s property and finances. A conservator may not make personal decisions for someone such as where they will live. Guardians have the authority to make even that decision.
  • Adoptions may only be granted through the court. It is a process whereby a person assumes the parenting for another who is not kin and, in so doing, permanently transfers all rights and responsibilities from the original parent or parents.
  • Marriage should not be taken lightly, as you are entering a legally binding contract. Marriage licenses, prenuptial agreements, and previous marriages must all be taken in to consideration. Common Law marriage is still legal in Kansas.
  • Annulment is an order from the court not only ending the marriage but which says that the marriage never happened. Like a legal separation, the judge may enter an order as to custody, visitation, child support, property division, debt payment and other issues. In most cases, you must prove that your spouse intentionally withheld information or told you a lie to induce you to marry, and that had you known the truth, you would never have married.
  • Divorce terminates the marriage. The court may enter an order as to custody, visitation, child support, property division, pensions, alimony and other issues.
  • Parentage may be brought before the Court as a parentage action, if a child is born outside of a marriage.
  • Custody is determined by What is in the best interests of the children. There are two different kinds of custody which may be shared in three main ways. The two types of custody are:
  1. Legal custody which goes to who has the ability to make important decisions concerning the children, and
  2. Physical custody which goes to where the children will live.

Each of the two types of custody may be shared in three different ways. This may be done differently for each type of custody:

  1. Sole. Legal and/or physical custody may be given to one parent alone (with rights of visitation to the other).
  2. Joint. In joint custody arrangements, both parents are involved. For instance, with joint legal custody, both parents would have a right to make the important decisions regarding the children such as education, religion and non-emergency medical care.
  3. Split. This situation involves more than one child and the children are split between the parents.
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