child custody

Legal custody in the State of Missouri refers to the power granted to a parent to make decisions regarding the best interests of the child. Two major types of legal custody are recognized under Missouri law: (1) joint legal custody and (2) sole legal custody. It is necessary to speak to an experienced child custody lawyer in Missouri if you are seeking to obtain custody of your children. 

Legal Custody Between Two Parents 

Legal custody in Missouri is often shared between two parents. Both parents will be permitted to decide on matters regarding the general welfare of the child, financial issues, education, and medical care. Courts in Missouri are not constrained in how they can decide questions regarding legal custody. Understanding how legal custody is decided in Missouri will help you achieve a positive outcome in your case. 

Physical Custody in the State of Missouri 

Physical custody in the State of Missouri is an important topic in the context of family law. Essentially, physical custody is distinct from legal custody, and it refers to the parent who has possession of the individual child. It is important not to confuse legal custody with physical custody because these are two unique terms. Physical custody can give rise to complicated legal issues which may take time to resolve. Retaining an experienced attorney in Missouri is one of the best ways to protect your legal interests. 

The Criteria Judges Use to Decide Child Custody Issues in the State of Missouri 

The best interests of the child standard is the primary criterion judges use to make decisions regarding child custody. The following are critical to helping a judge make these decisions: 

  • Whether or not a parent has been deemed unfit to care for the child 
  • Whether one parent exhibits an inability to cooperate 
  • The existence of a history of domestic violence 
  • Whether or not a parent has a drug or substance abuse problem 
  • Whether or not a parent will be able to provide emotional support to the child 
  • Whether or not the parent will be able to provide the child with clothes and food 
  • Which parent will be able to provide the child with a safe living area 

These factors may be emphasized or deemphasized depending on the facts of the case. It is critical for a parent to speak to an attorney experienced in child custody matters to determine how best to seek custody of the child. 

You may need to collect relevant evidence including court documents to substantiate your claims regarding the behavior of your current or former spouse. These matters may take time, and it is helpful to be patient and understanding when you are trying to seek custody of a child or to modify an existing child custody order. 

Contact the Law Office of Mark Harford Today to Schedule a Free Consultation 

Child custody matters are complex and sometimes parents can become emotionally overwhelmed during child custody disputes. If you are seeking legal representation in the State of Missouri, contact us today to schedule a free consultation. We have years of experience representing clients in child custody matters in Missouri.