Whether you are going through a divorce or separating from your significant other, if you have children you likely have many questions about what will happen to them through these difficult times. Child custody is often a contentious topic, as not all parents agree on what is best for their kids.
Missouri, like every other state, offers a few different custody options to parents so they can create a custody plan that truly fits the needs of the family. What are these custody options? Do parents have a say? What happens if our custody plan doesn't work as you hoped? These are all great questions that have relatively straightforward answers.
The state of Missouri distinguishes between legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody refers to which parent will have the right to make decisions for his or her children. Physical custody, on the other hand, refers to with whom the children will live. Legal and physical custody can be shared in a joint agreement or they can be granted to just one parent.
Do parents have a say?
The courts really would like parents to reach custody terms on their own if possible. This allows them to have a say in the matter. Parents know their children best, so they are the best people to decide what type of arrangement would be beneficial to them.
If parents cannot come to agreeable custody terms and the matter does go to court, each party will have the opportunity to share his or her thoughts on the matter with a judge. Ultimately, though, the judge will have the final say on the matter when the parents can't come to an agreement on their own.
What if the custody plan is not working out?
If you went through the whole process to achieve a custody order and it has been in action for a while, but it is not working out as well as you think it should, you may be able to do something about it. The state allows parents to seek modifications to custody orders. There usually needs to be a good reason for such a request to receive approval. Not all adjustment requests are granted.
Seek help with it all
It does not matter if you are just getting started with your divorce or separation and need help with it all, or if you've been living your single life for a while, but need help seeking a custody modification. An experienced family law attorney can assist you in fighting for a custody arrangement that is good for you and your children.