On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Child Custody on Friday, October 9, 2015.
In Missouri, child custody laws are rather straightforward. Once an arrangement is reached, it must be maintained by both parents. This includes legal and physical custody, as well as any visitation rights. As you may well know, a custody dispute can be one of the most difficult parts of a divorce.
But what happens if the divorce process is drawn out, and you and your partner are separated physically but not legally for many months? Who maintains custody of the children during that time? The answer is similar to other child custody battles: it depends on the child’s best interests.
If you and your partner can come to a pre-divorce agreement regarding custody, it will typically be upheld. But if there is a dispute before the separation is finalized, the courts will typically take the same steps they would otherwise to grant custody. This includes the child’s best wishes, each parent’s ability to care for the child, each parent’s location and other factors.
Typically, unless there is a parent who is unfit to rear children, joint custody will be granted. This allows both parents to be equally involved in the child’s upbringing. Because a court decision may be unfair one way or the other, if parents can settle this dispute in mediation or in some other way outside the court, it is often beneficial to do so.
Sometimes, however, mediation over child custody simply does not work. If you must go to court over this issue, it may be beneficial to have an experienced attorney who might be able to fight your case for you.