Child custody battles can be vicious if both parents try to paint the other as unfit.
What sort of state is Missouri? Is it a mother state or a father state? This is one of the most common questions Missouri child custody lawyers hear from their clients going through a divorce. The truth is Missouri is neither and the current laws give an equal chance to both parents when it comes to determining child custody.
The judges are required to keep the children’s best interests in mind, not those of the parents. Or what the parents think their best interests are. Under a 2016 law, judges are encouraged to award 50-50 custody, but keep in mind that this is not mandatory.
What does 50-50 custody mean? This means awarding joint custody, both physical and legal.
When you schedule a consultation with a Kansas City child custody lawyer or an attorney in your area, they will help you understand the difference between physical and legal custody, and they will offer advice on finding a peaceful solution to whatever dispute you might have with your ex.
Physical custody refers to where the children are going to live – with the mother or the father. Having joint physical custody would mean that the children will spend a roughly equal amount of time with each parent. This can only work if the parents live in the same area so moving between houses doesn’t affect the children’s education and community life.
If joint custody is not an option for you, the judge will have to award sole custody to the parent that can best meet the children’s needs, in terms of affection, ability to provide care and a healthy environment.
A parent with a history of substance abuse or mental health issues can be deemed an unfit parent and most likely won’t be designated the custodial parent, the one that gets physical custody of the children. Also, any instances of abuse or child neglect might disqualify you from getting sole physical custody.
If one of the parents gets sole custody, the other one will receive visitation rights, as it is generally in the children’s best interests to have a good relationship with both parents.
If both parents are trying to obtain physical custody of the children, it all comes down to the judge deciding which of them is the better parent.
Child custody lawyers usually advise their clients to try to settle their disputes through negotiation rather than going to court.
Child custody battles can be vicious if both parents try to paint the other as unfit. The judge will have to consider which parent can provide a better and more stable home environment. If you have temporary custody of the children, pending the court’s decision, you will have to prove that the children are well cared for in every aspect – going to school, getting enough sleep and decent food, or engaging in sports and community activities. Also, it is important to show willingness and flexibility in allowing the other parent to spend time with the children. Remember that unless and until the other party is deemed an unfit parent they have the right to see the children and you trying to prevent that will look bad in court.