Separation and divorce with children are often emotionally charged and challenging situations. It is best when parents can agree to co-parent and focus on the best interest of their kids. Unfortunately, this is not possible in every situation.
When disputes arise, parents must protect their legal rights. A Town and Country child custody lawyer at our firm could help you through the proceedings and protect your legal rights. Call the experienced attorneys at Jones Family Law Group today to schedule a confidential consultation and review your case.
Missouri Parenting Plan Arrangements
The Missouri family courts require parents to create a parenting plan and submit the arrangement for court-approval. The parenting plan outlines the child custody arrangement and decision-making authority regarding major decisions, including education, religion, and medical care. Both parents can draft their plans individually or prepare one together and submit it for the family court judge’s approval.
The ultimate objective of a parenting plan is to encourage co-parenting in the children’s best interest and ensure they receive the physical, psychological, and financial support they need. Our child custody attorneys in Town and Country could review your options and help draft an effective plan to protect your children’s best interests.
Custody Arrangements in Missouri
Missouri has three primary child custody arrangements, including joint or sole legal custody, joint or sole physical custody, and third-party custody.
Joint or Sole Legal Custody
Joint legal custody allows both parents to share responsibilities and decision-making authority. Both parents must communicate and agree before making vital decisions involving the child’s welfare, education, health, and more.
Joint or Sole Physical Custody
Physical custody determines where the children live. When the parenting agreement divides the time equally, the parents share joint physical custody.
Third-party custody arrangements typically involve grandparents or other caregivers that provide care for the children. In the case of same-sex parents, if one parent has not formalized their parent-child relationship with a child, they can still seek Third-Party custody. Additionally, third-party custodians may seek a court-ordered arrangement if the parents cannot provide adequate care.
Custody Arrangements and the Children’s Best Interest
The family courts seek to determine a custody arrangement in the children’s best interest; in most cases, that means equal parenting time. According to the Missouri Revised Statute § 452.375, the court may consider the following factors in determining a child custody arrangement:
- Each parent’s mental and physical health
- History of abuse or domestic violence
- A history of parental alienation and the manipulation or coercion of children by one parent to damage their relationship with the other
- Whether there is a lack or refusal to cooperate and co-parent for the best interest of the children by one party
- A history of substance abuse problems
A child custody lawyer at our firm could guide you through the family court process and provide sound legal advice to reach a fair agreement.
Meet with a Qualified Town and Country Child Custody Attorney
Child custody arrangements and family court proceedings are often stressful and emotionally draining. Even when amicable, the process can be lengthy and expensive. Sometimes, parents can work together and agree on an arrangement. However, when problems arise, it is crucial to understand and protect your parental rights.
The family laws in Missouri presume that children should spend equal time with both parents. A Town and Country child custody lawyer at Jones Family Law Group could further explain the laws and factors that may impact your case. Call us today to learn how we can advocate for you and your family.