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Child custody in Missouri

After a divorce, parents in Missouri might have questions about child custody. There are two different kinds of custody parents should be aware of: legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody pertains to making decisions about the child's health, education and welfare, while physical custody involves how much time the child will spend living and/or visiting with each parent. Both legal and physical custody may be awarded to either one parent or both. A third party can also have custody of the child, such as a grandparent.

Unless an agreement can be reached by parents, a child custody decision is made by the court. Each parent can give the court his or her work schedule as well as information about the living situation so that the judge can make a decision based on the best interests of the child. Judges will determine the best living situation as well as look into the relationships with other people in the home and the relationship between the parents.

Mental and physical health factors of the child and parents will also be examined. Any domestic violence issues could prevent one parent from obtaining sole custody. Parents who have been found guilty of any offense that relates to the well-being of the child will not get custody, but there is an option of supervised custody until the parent proves otherwise.

If there are issues about child custody following divorce, an attorney can help file the proper paperwork and possibly take the other parent to court. While in court, the attorney can give details about why their client should receive sole or joint custody.

Source: moga.mo.gov, "Dissolution of Marriage, Divorce, Alimony and Separate Maintenance ", September 29, 2014

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