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Understanding Missouri's child custody laws

Parents in Missouri should be aware of the types of child custody in the state and the factors that a court will review when making a child custody award.
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    January 23, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Understanding Missouri's child custody laws

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When parents cannot agree on custody arrangements, Missouri courts step in and make custody decisions. <a name="OLE_LINK3" id="OLE_LINK3]Parents in Missouri should be aware of the types of child custody in the state and the factors that a court will review when making a child custody award.[/url]

Types of child custody in Missouri

There are two different types of child custody under Missouri law:
-Legal: Legal custody of a child is the right and responsibility to make decisions about the child's health, welfare and education. A parent may have sole legal custody of a child, or parents may have joint legal custody of a child. If the parents share legal custody, they must consult with one another when making all decisions regarding the child's health, welfare and education, unless a court order apportions the decision-making authority differently.

-Physical: Physical custody of a child is the care for and control of the child on a daily basis. One parent can have sole physical custody of a child, where the child lives predominantly with that parent. Alternatively, parents can share joint physical custody, with the child splitting his or her time between both parents.

Factors affecting custody awards

Missouri courts have a duty to make child custody decisions based upon the best interests of the child. The way that the courts determine a child's best interests is by weighing the following factors:
-The parents' wishes and the parenting plans that each parent submits to the court

-Each parent's ability to perform parenting functions and the child's need to have a meaningful relationship with each parent

-The child's interactions with each parent and any siblings or others who may impact the child's best interests

-The likelihood of each parent to allow the other parent to have frequent and continuous contact with the child

-How adjusted the child is in the home, school and community

-The mental health of all parties, particularly whether there is a history of abuse of any parties involved

-Whether either parent intends to relocate with the child

-The child's wishes

The court will not favor either parent for a custody award based on gender, age, financial status or sex of the child.

Talk to a lawyer

Child custody issues can be emotionally-charged matters. Parents should not try to handle child custody cases by themselves while trying to deal with the stress that accompanies them. If you have questions about child custody in Missouri, speak with a skilled Missouri child custody attorney who can advise you about your specific circumstances.

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