Navigating Child Custody Laws In Missouri With Bandré, Hunt & Snider
When it comes to child custody laws in Missouri, making decisions about your family can be difficult, stressful, and emotional. No matter the age of your children, the decision of who will get custody or how it will be split can be painful and upsetting. This area of law is not as simple as other areas, due to the discretion given to judges in making decisions on the division of property, child custody, and child support. Our attorneys at Bandré, Hunt & Snider want to help. Our skilled team of family law attorneys can help you navigate the complexities of child custody law in Missouri and make the process a little less stressful. In need of representation? Give us a call today.
How Child Custody and Joint Custody Law Operate in Missouri
So how does child custody law in Missouri operate? What about joint custody? How is it all decided? Child Custody Law in Missouri is code section 452.375, and deals with specifying who the child will live with and each parent’s visitation rights. W e hope to answer some of your general questions in this blog, but if you need more personalized advice or are seeking representation, contact us to set up a consultation with an attorney.
When it comes to child custody law in Missouri, there are 8 factors courts consider in their decision in addition to circumstances specific to your family.
1 – The proposed parenting plan agreed on by the divorcing parties. Ideally, the parents come to a consensus about who gets custody and how time and responsibility are divided. Agreement on this can make a huge difference in the court’s decision.
2 – The individual needs of the child to maintain a relationship with both parents. Each parent’s willingness to support a healthy relationship with the child is also taken into consideration. The court has to find that each parent functions in the role that they agreed to in the child’s life.
3 – The way that the family interacts. This is a considerable factor in the decision-making process of the courts. Sibling relations and other significant familial relationships are heavily weighted in deciding who gets custody and what kind.
4 – Parental agreement on maintaining a civil relationship with the other parent. This is critical to the decision. If it appears that one parent will make it more difficult for the child to have a good relationship with the other parent, this is not looked upon favorably by the court.
5 – How the child will adjust to their home, community, and school if one parent is given custody rights. The child’s mental and physical well-being is of the utmost importance to the court. When making decisions about custody and visitation, potential relocation and the child’s adjustment is heavily considered.
6 – The physical and emotional well-being of the child related to who they live with and their visitation schedule. If the child has a strained or unhealthy relationship with one parent, that may be a deciding factor in custody and visitation.
7 – Parental relocation. If one parent wishes to move away, that is a significant factor in how the court will rule in terms of custody rights. Relocation is seen as a hardship for a child who is already enduring a major life trauma.
8 – The child’s opinion. If the child is old enough to speak about their concerns and voice their choice, it may be considered by the court. Typically, a child has to be at least 8 years old for their opinion to be critical in the decision process.
In addition to these 8 factors, a variety of other things are considered. The age of the children, the relationship between the parents, the possibility of relocation, and more are all factors when a court is deciding child custody in Missouri. With very young children, long-term separation is avoided as much as possible as children under 2 years old experience the most separation anxiety. Consistency is also crucial for very young children. Another sensitive age group is teens. Feelings of anger and resentment are most common for this age group, and children of this age need just as much stability as young children. In fact, it may even be more important for this group, as teens’ resentment or anger towards a parent can be used to sway court decisions.
Choosing A Family Law Attorney In Missouri
Divorce is stressful enough, and adding child custody decisions to the mix doesn’t make things any easier. That’s why the family law attorneys at Bandré, Hunt & Snider are so dedicated to their family law practice. We understand that family law and child custody is sensitive and emotional so we want to make the process as painless as possible while coming to a decision that benefits everyone and keeps the child or children safe.
FAQ’s About Child Custody Laws In Missouri
Child custody law can be complex and emotional for many families, so we’ve gathered a few frequently asked questions to lay out the basics of how it all works here in Missouri. Keep in mind this is not legal advice, just general information. It is always best to hire an experienced professional before moving forward with any legal action.
Is a mother more likely to get custody?
- Not necessarily. In the past, courts have been more likely to lean towards maternal custody. This was called the ‘Tender Years Doctrine’, which meant that there was a preference for mothers over fathers in custody decisions. This mostly applied to young children under the age of four, but has since been abolished.
- The 8 factors mentioned earlier all have significant weight, but ultimately everything comes down to what will be best for the child and their well-being.
How is a parent proven unfit?
- A parent may be deemed unfit if they have shown abusive or neglectful behavior or improper care for the child. A parent with a severe mental illness or addiction to drugs or alcohol may also be found to be an unfit parent. The best interest of the child and their physical and mental well-being is always the determining factor.
Do you need the other parent’s consent for custody rights?
- With joint custody, generally yes. A court will usually grant parents joint custody unless it is determined that sole custody is in the child’s best interest. However, if both parents agree on joint custody, it may not be an even split. Factors such as which parent is the primary caretaker, and the work and personal obligations of each parent will be considered when granting custody.
Can one parent withhold visitation if the parent is late on child support?
- In Missouri, no. You cannot withhold visitation if the other parent’s child support funds are late.
To learn more or get high quality legal representation, contact the attorneys at Bandré, Hunt & Snider.
Call the Attorneys at Bandré, Hunt & Snider to Navigate Child Custody Laws in Missouri
In need of a family law attorney? We know family law is stressful, emotional, and sometimes painful. We want to make the process as simple as possible and give you peace of mind. Give the skilled attorneys at Bandré, Hunt & Snider a call today to get the representation that you and your family deserve.