Common Missouri Child Custody Questions

Children and parents in Missouri are protected by custody laws. These laws take the best interests of children into account when making custody decisions. If you’re going through a major transition in life like a divorce, or if you want to change a child support order, you need to be aware of Missouri custody laws. Here are five frequently asked questions regarding child custody law in Park Hills, MO.

Are there different Missouri custody arrangements?

Missouri currently has four different arrangements that directly impact a parent’s custody of their child. When courts make decisions regarding custody, they consider both legal and physical implications. As a concerned parent, you might already be aware that there’s a major difference between the most common forms of custody: joint custody and sole custody. It’s important to understand what is sole custody and what is joint custody as you make legal decisions in Park Hills, MO that have long-lasting effects on the life of your child.

What is sole custody?

Courts can award two forms of sole custody:

  • Sole legal custody: This form of custody revolves around decision making. Only one parent has the right to make decisions on behalf of the child. These decisions include choices about the health, education and general welfare of their child.
  • Sole physical custody: When a parent is awarded sole physical custody, the child permanently resides with them. A court order will lay out the other parent’s visitation rights, if any are awarded.

What is joint custody?

Joint custody can take two forms:

  • Joint legal custody: When joint legal custody is granted, both parents have decision-making rights. Parents must always consult each other on all issues related to the health, education and overall welfare of the child. On occasion, the court can order one parent to make decisions on behalf of the child on specific issues.
  • Joint physical custody: Courts grant joint legal custody so that each parent is able to have the child residing with him/her for significant periods of time.

How will custody impact child support payments?

Often, whoever receives physical custody of the child will receive child support from the non-custodial parent. There are quite a few factors that the court uses to determine the dollar amount that the physical custodian receives. Some of the elements the court takes into account include:

  • The finances of both parents
  • The child’s educational and financial needs
  • The child’s physical and emotional health
  • Any applicable work-related child care costs

Can custody be modified?

If you seek a change in your custody agreements, you must show the court that there has been a substantial and consistent change in the life of your child or one of her custodians. Courts scrutinize all facts that have developed since the current order took effect, and they prioritize the stability of the child above all else.

Child custody laws in Park Hills, MO are intended to put the child’s best interest first. It’s important to follow court orders, even at times when you may not agree with them. If you’re going through a transition in life and are concerned about your legal rights and the rights of your child, it’s best to consult an experienced child custody attorney. Contact Maynard & Joyce, LLC to help you make the best decisions for your family.