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Child Custody Factors in Missouri

Missouri custody laws, like most if not all states, are required to make their decisions based in the best interests of the children.


In this decision of custody the court determines how the parents will share time with the child. This is called either (sole) or (joint) physical custody along with either (sole) or (joint) legal custody including decision-making rights and authority relating to health, education and welfare of the child.




This determination by the courts are based on Missouri law 452.375 (a direct link to the full Missouri statute http://revisor.mo.gov/main/OneSection.aspx?section=452.375&bid=34916&hl=) and include eight (8) factors as listed below:


  (1) The wishes of the child's parents as to custody and the proposed parenting plan submitted by both parties;

  (2) The needs of the child for a frequent, continuing and meaningful relationship with both parents and the ability and willingness of parents to actively perform their functions as mother and father for the needs of the child;

  (3) The interaction and interrelationship of the child with parents, siblings, and any other person who may significantly affect the child's best interests;

  (4) Which parent is more likely to allow the child frequent, continuing and meaningful contact with the other parent;

  (5) The child's adjustment to the child's home, school, and community;

  (6) The mental and physical health of all individuals involved, including any history of abuse of any individuals involved.

  (7) The intention of either parent to relocate the principal residence of the child; and

  (8) The wishes of a child as to the child's custodian.

After the court in considering these factors, based on what is presented to them by the parents or the parents attorney, awards either sole or joint custody.

Joint legal custody means parents share the decision-making rights and responsibility including health, education, and welfare of the child which means discussing with each other these decisions.

Joint physical custody means an order awarding each of the parents significant, but not necessarily equal, periods of time during which the child resides with or is under the care and supervision of each of the parents. Joint physical custody shall be shared by the parents in such a way as to assure the child of frequent, continuing and meaningful contact with both parents.

Courts have indicated that starting around age 11, is when a child can express their opinion concerning physical custody or where the child would like to live. It is up to the judge is deciding how much weight to give a child’s opinion.

If you have further questions concerning child custody the following are links providing general information:

http://revisor.mo.gov/main/OneSection.aspx?section=452.375&bid=34916&hl=

https://www.courts.mo.gov/page.jsp?id=38351

file:///C:/Users/jlbri/OneDrive/Desktop/Parent%20Handbook_MISSOURI.pdf

If you are in need of legal representation concerning child custody send us a message or call 816-503-6739 in the Kansas City Metro Area or 417-553-4352 if in the Joplin, Missouri area.


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