How a Child Custody Attorney Can Help You
If you are considering filing for legal custody of your children, you should be aware of the different types of legal custody in Missouri. There are two main forms of child custody in Missouri: joint physical custody and sole physical custody. The decision about which type of custody is best for your child is made by a judge. Joint physical custody involves the child spending significant time with both parents, while sole custody refers to one parent having full-time physical possession of the child. In a Missouri divorce, the court will choose between the two options, based on the child’s best interests.
Joint physical custody entails the child spending a substantial amount of time with each parent, usually on alternating weekends. It can also involve alternate holidays. Parents share major decisions, such as medical care, educational decisions and religious instructions. Some families are able to come to a mutually agreeable arrangement.
For the court to order joint physical custody, both parties must prove that there has been a “substantial change in circumstances.” This could include a new job or a change in the parent’s living situation. A history of violence or drug abuse is another important factor. Also, the court will consider the stability of each parent and the willingness of each parent to give access to the child.
If you are seeking sole physical custody, you need to present a compelling reason for it. You cannot be angry at your partner for leaving the marriage. You also need to provide proof that it is in your child’s best interest to be with you. Often, this is done through a detailed parenting agreement. An Child Custody Attorney in Springfield can help you and the family work out the details.
Similarly, if you are seeking sole legal custody, you need to present evidence that your child’s life would be significantly improved if you were the primary caretaker. The court may order an investigation by a mental health professional or social services. Other factors the court will take into account are the child’s ties to other family members and the child’s bond with the parent.
In Missouri, the courts often prefer a shared custody arrangement. This gives both parents a chance to continue maintaining a strong relationship with their child. However, if the court believes that the parents are unable to make the decision themselves, it will make the final decision.
If you are looking for a lawyer to guide you through the process of obtaining custody of your child, a Springfield attorney can help. There are many lawyers in the area who specialize in family law. Contact the office of Nicholas W. Richardson for a free initial consultation.
Regardless of whether your child is physically or legally with you, you will need to follow a court-ordered parenting plan to maintain your parental rights. Detailed parenting agreements can limit confusion and arguments later on. While there is no set rule about how much time each parent spends with the child, it is typically recommended that the child spends at least one night a week with the other parent.