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How Child Custody is Determined in Missouri

Family law is a legal area that allows courts to oversee and/or make decisions regarding family circumstances. Because all families are different and because children are often involved, this task can become very difficult. When children are involved in divorce and family law cases, for example, courts will follow many procedural rules to ensure the best possible decision is made.

In child custody proceedings, courts will always place an emphasis on making decisions in the best interests of the child. Under Missouri law, there are various factors courts consider when making a decision about what is in a child’s best interests, including:

  • A child’s health and safety - The safety and health of a child is always a top priority.
  • Emotional needs - Judges will consider each parent’s relationship with the child and their ability to provide the time and attention to meet their emotional needs. Courts will especially consider whether homes provide stable living arrangements or whether children will need to adjust to relocating.
  • Co-parenting - Missouri courts place importance on ensuring children have stable relationships with both parents, when possible, and will consider one parent’s ability to promote positive relations with the other parent.
  • Custody options - There are two different types of custody: legal custody and physical custody. Parents can share joint legal custody or one parent can have sole legal custody. Legal custody determines who makes the decisions about your child’s life (e.g., where do they go to school, who is their physician). Physical custody establishes where your child spend their time and on which days are they with each parent.

Child custody is often one of the most important elements of a divorce case, as well as an issue that can continually arise as children grow. At The Buxner Law Firm, our attorneys have helped many clients navigate these proceedings successfully.

If you have questions about Missouri child custody laws and how we can be of service, contact our firm today for a free in-office consultation.