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Law delineates parental visitation rights with children

Missouri parents who do not have custody of their children are generally entitled to reasonable visitation rights. However, courts may not allow visitation rights under certain circumstances if it would not be in the child's best interests.

Missouri Law 452.400 states that if visitation by the non-custodial parent would put the child in danger or emotionally harm them in any way, unrestricted visitation might not be granted. Otherwise, the court will issue an order documenting the non-custodial parent's right to visitation. Under the state law, the court will not grant visitation rights to the non-custodial parent if that parent or someone they are living with has harmed the child. This list includes felony convictions for sexual offenses against the minor child.

If the non-custodial parent has a history of violence toward the child or other family member, the court may grant visitation rights but in a manner that would protect the child and other family members. This might include supervised visitation by a third party to protect the child. If visitation is restricted or supervised, the non-custodial parent must show proof of rehabilitation before unrestricted visitation is allowed.

In most cases, when parents separate they can work out custody or visitation agreements between themselves. Sometimes, though, this is not possible, possibly because one parent is accusing the other of ill treatment of the minor child. In such cases, the court may need to decide visitation rights that are in the best interest of the child. Each parent may want to consult with a family law attorney who may be able to help them work out a mutual agreement or represent them in court, if necessary.

Source: Missouri General Assembly, "Section 452.400 ", October 30, 2014

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