Child custody: What exactly does better parent mean?

On Behalf of | Jun 9, 2021 | Child Custody And Support |

Divorce comes with a lot of decision-making. If the couple has children, the most important decisions revolve around child custody. If the issues are contentious, then it may be that one parent is planning on fighting for sole custody of the children. In such cases, a parent in Missouri better be prepared to provide evidence in court that the children would be better off with him or her. That proof is measured by the better parent standard.

Solid proof required

A judge will not order sole custody unless he or she believes it is in the best interests of the children. The law does not take this lightly since one parent is asking that the court prevent the other parent from taking care of the children after the divorce is finalized. Judges generally believe that children do much better after divorce when they can maintain a balanced relationship with both parents, so the burden of proof on the parent fighting for sole custody is heavy.

What does the judge use to render a decision?

As mentioned, a judge will look at what’s best for the children by poring over evidence. Essentially, a judge must be shown that the children would have a better life in the care of one parent, rather than both. Evidence must come in the form of documented proof of the claims. That could include issues of mental health problems, substance abuse, domestic violence or showing that the children would be in danger by staying with the other parent.

Fighting for sole custody is not an easy task. It is necessary to enlist the help of a Missouri attorney with experience in child custody cases. A parent must understand what he or she needs to do in court and what documents need to be provided in order to be in a better position for a desired outcome. Understanding the better parent standard completely is imperative for giving the right evidence in court.