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What is Child Custody in Missouri?

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In Missouri, child custody refers to the legal rights and responsibilities regarding the care and upbringing of a child. When parents’ divorce or separate, they must determine how custody will be divided. Missouri courts encourage parents to reach a custody agreement on their own, but if they cannot agree, the court will decide based on the best interests of the child.

In Missouri, there are two main types of custody:

  1. Legal Custody: This refers to the right to make important decisions about the child’s upbringing, such as decisions about education, healthcare, and religious upbringing. Legal custody can be awarded solely to one parent (sole legal custody) or jointly to both parents (joint legal custody).
  2. Physical Custody: This refers to where the child will physically live and the day-to-day care of the child. Physical custody can also be awarded solely to one parent (sole physical custody) or shared between both parents (joint physical custody).

In cases of joint custody, whether legal or physical, the parents share responsibilities and decision-making regarding the child.

When determining custody arrangements in Missouri, the court considers various factors, including:

  • The child’s relationship with each parent
  • Each parent’s ability to provide for the child’s physical, emotional, and developmental needs
  • The child’s adjustment to home, school, and community
  • The wishes of the child (if the child is old enough and mature enough to express a preference)
  • Any history of abuse or domestic violence
  • The willingness of each parent to encourage a close relationship between the child and the other parent

Ultimately, the goal of the court is to ensure that the custody arrangement is in the best interests of the child. If parents are unable to agree on custody, the court will make a decision based on the evidence presented during custody proceedings.

At Raza Family Law Solutions, we practice family law effectively guiding clients through prenuptial and post nuptial agreements, dissolution of marriage, modifications of prior judgments, and resolving child custody disputes. We also help families take a different approach to divorce with mediation and collaborative work.  Contact us for a consultation at (314) 408-5957.

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