Ask A Lawyer: How Can I Help My Neglected Child?


How can I get my child? CPS has been called on the mother 2 times and yet she seems untouchable. I pay for my child who resides in Missouri. I paid $700 a month when she did not work. She is now married and works yet I still pay $700.

She has neglected the child’s teeth for over a year and the school has already been involved. I am still told she is the "fit" parent!

My lawyer just seems totally clueless in helping me do what is right for the well-being of my child! What are some steps I can take toward helping my child?



A call to DFS or CPS that is unsubstantiated would not lead to a modification in and of itself. In fact the unsubstantiated call may hurt the case for a modification.

However, just because a matter referred to DFS or CPS was unsubstantiated does not mean that the underlying  issues for the call would not support a modification.  The standard of review for a court in a modification is different than a review for abuse or neglect by the State agency.

Substantial medical neglect, if proven,  would be a basis for a modification of custody. 

Regarding the support issue, have your attorney or go on line and run a child support chart.  If you are in a state with a single income calculation (child support is X percent of your net or gross income) her employment would not make a difference.  If you are in a dual income calculation state (such as Missouri or Georgia) her increased income may result in a modification.  In most jurisdictions you need to show a substantial and continuing change of circumstances to justify a modification.  What constitutes a substantial change differs by jurisdiction.


Spencer E. Williams is the Team Leader over St Louis, St Charles, Indianapolis and Arnold (Jefferson County, MO) offices of Cordell & Cordell, P.C. where he practices exclusively in the area of domestic relations. Mr. Williams has tried numerous cases dealing with complex custody issues, maintenance, business assets and personal asset division. 

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