A family court in Missouri uses several factors to determine child custody. Primarily, a court in Missouri determines custody based on the best interests of the child. A family court in Missouri will not show preference towards either parent in a child custody case based on gender, financial status, age, or sex of the child. Parents who wish to file for child custody in Missouri should first become familiar with the custody statutes in this state.
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Best Interests of the Child
A court in Missouri will determine child custody based on the best interests of the child. Factors included in the best interests of the child determination are:
- Each parent's wishes and the proposed parenting plan submitted by the parents
- The child's need for frequent and meaningful contact with each parent, and each parent's willingness to be responsible for the child's needs
- The child's wishes
- Either parent's intention to relocate with the child
- The child's relationship with his/her parents, siblings and extended family members
- Each parent's willingness to encourage a relationship between the child and the child's other parent
- The child's adjustment to home, school and community
- Any history of abuse
- The mental and physical health of all involved parties
Child Custody Arrangements in Missouri
Prior to awarding child custody in Missouri, the court will consider the following custody arrangements:
- Joint physical custody and joint legal custody to both parents
- Joint physical custody to both parents and sole legal custody to one parent
- Joint legal custody to both parents with sole physical custody to one parent
- Sole custody to either parent
- Third party custody or visitation
A court in Missouri encourages frequent and continuous contact between the child and both parents so long as it serves the best interests of the child.
Domestic Violence and Child Custody in Missouri
If a party who is requesting custody of a child has committed an act of domestic violence, the court will ensure that the custody arrangement protects the child, the parent who is the victim of the domestic violence, and any other children that the parent has.
For more information about child custody in Missouri, speak with an attorney in Missouri or refer to the Missouri Revised Statutes.