How is child custody determined in Missouri? Essentially, the judge will consider what’s in the child’s best interests. Missouri has a custody statute that encourages parents to share equal time and physical custody of their children. However, the statute doesn’t mandate this. Ultimately, judges must use their discretion to determine what’s in the best interest of the child. In some cases, a parent can request full custody but must prove that the other parent is unfit.
When determining custody, courts must consider several factors. Most courts favor joint legal custody. This arrangement involves the children spending as much time as possible with each parent. While 50/50 custody is generally preferred, it can also be detrimental to the child if the parents are not getting along or if one parent is neglecting the child. Therefore, parents should hire quality legal representation for their Missouri custody case. However, if joint legal custody is not possible, Missouri courts can award sole custody to either parent.
In Missouri, a judge will also consider the child’s preferences. They will take into account testimony from teachers, child care providers, psychologists, and psychiatrists. If one parent is more likely to raise the child in a healthy and stable environment, the court will take that into account. During the hearing, the judge will consider the child’s preferences and the circumstances of the case. If either parent is unstable, the court will consider the child’s preference when determining custody.
Ultimately, the court is the one who will decide which parent will be the best parent for the child. If the parents cannot agree, they may go through mediation. If this is not possible, a formal court hearing will take place. In this case, both parents can present evidence and testimony to support their arguments. Alternatively, an ex parte order can be issued for a parent at one party’s request. These orders are temporary and only affect the custody arrangement until the hearing.
The other parent must be served with the court’s summons before the court can make a final decision. However, in cases where both parents are unfit, the court can order a mental health care professional to interview the child and determine what the child’s best interests are. The court may also appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the child’s interests. A judge can also choose to hold a court hearing without the other parent’s presence.
If the parents are not able to come to an agreement regarding parenting, a custody battle will occur. A custody battle occurs when both parents can’t agree on a parenting plan and the court feels that the parenting plan does not reflect what’s best for the child. In such a case, the parent with the best interest of the child will win. As long as a court can prove a substantial change in the child’s life, the custody order can be modified.
The next step in getting custody of a minor child in Missouri is to file a petition with the appropriate court. However, Missouri family law says that only a judge can change a custody or child support order. Any agreement reached outside of court will not be considered a legal agreement. For this reason, it is important to file a motion to modify the custody and child support order. Otherwise, the court will not accept the agreement.