How is Child Custody Determined?

How a child custody case will play out consistently revolves around what the court determines to be in the best interests of the child, without giving preference to either parent ahead of time. If you are considering filing for custody of your child in Missouri, you need to familiarize yourself with how the state handles such issues.

What exactly falls within the best interests of the child is anything to do with maintaining the child’s physical and emotional well-being and the desire to preserve a positive relationship with both parents.

Specific factors include:

  • Fostering meaningful contact with each parent
  • The wishes of the child, depending on their age
  • Either parent’s wish to relocate with the child
  • The current relationship of the child with either parent, siblings, and extended family
  • The mental and physical health of all parties involved
  • Any history of abuse
  • The child’s adjustment to home, school, and community

Before custody is determined, the court will also consider where the child will live (physical custody), and whether responsibility for making significant life decisions for the child should be shared or the prerogative of one parent (legal custody).

You will need a reliable child custody attorney to ensure your parental rights are respected during the hearing, especially if the other parent has representation of their own.

For those in the middle of a custody battle, speaking with Pedano, O’Shea, McGavic&Hogenmiller can keep you apprised of your rights. Call the firm today to set up your free evaluation.