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How is child custody determined in Missouri?

44560404_S.jpgThis blog recently discussed more generally how child custody decisions are made but Missouri parents may have questions so it is helpful to understand how child custody decisions are made in Missouri and this blog takes a closer look at what that means in Missouri. Knowing what child custody is based on, and how it is determined, can help calm some common anxieties divorcing couples may have associated with the child custody process. Child custody decisions are generally guided by what is in the best interests of the child so it is helpful to understand how the family law court determines what is in the best interests of the child.

The family law court can help divorcing couples work out a child custody arrangement including a parenting plan and visitation. It can also help them with child custody modifications and in circumstances of relocations and requested relocations. All of these considerations use the best interests of the child as a guiding principle when making child custody determinations. It is helpful to know that in Missouri, child custody can be joint custody or sole custody and both physical and legal custody must be worked out.

In reaching a child custody arrangement in Missouri, the court considers what is in the best interests of the child by looking at factors including the proposed parenting plans prepared by the parents and the wishes of the child; the child's need to maintain a close relationship with both parents for emotional stability; the willingness of each of the parents to encourage a healthy relationship between the child and the other parent; the mental and physical well-being of all the parties involved; any relocation plans associated with a child custody arrangement; and any history of abuse or neglect.

Child custody can be of understandably great concern to divorcing parents which is why the family law process provides resources to help divorcing couples reach a child custody arrangement that is in the best interests of the child and works best for their family. Understanding how that process works can be of tremendous benefit to parents working out child custody-related concerns.

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