With all the time and money poured into implementing laws designed to benefit children, a certain amount of discretion should be allowed when it comes to deciding which parent will have custody of your child. Unfortunately, too often the decision about who gets custody is made solely on the basis of whether or not their preferred placement is beneficial to the child. This often means that one parent is more favored than the other. In this instance, the judge will use his or her discretion and make an unbiased decision that benefits the child in the long run.
While it doesn’t mandate that state courts to award fifty-fifty joint custody time, it does mean that equal custody be awarded as much as possible. Simply put, fifty-fifty joint child custody arrangement is certainly not assured. The courts make all custody-related determinations with the child’s welfare in mind.
There are certain instances where joint physical custody is preferred over sole custody. For example, if both parents live in a state that has no spousal support law, then joint physical custody is the most common arrangement. This is especially true for cases involving young children or those who have some form of special needs. In addition, when a parent has been unemployed for a substantial amount of time, or when that parent is fearful of the non-custodial parent causing harm to the child during visitation, then joint physical custody is frequently awarded.
When a parent has been awarded sole custody, there are certain rules and procedures that must be followed. Those rules and procedures must be followed in the event of a dispute over the custody of the children. Generally, the best interest of the child or children is the most important factor that courts use in deciding who will be the primary caregiver. Missouri law allows judges to listen to and consider the opinions of other people, including members of the opposite sex, about which parent is more fit to care for the children. If it is determined that the primary caregiver is harmful to the children, then the judge may award visitation rights to the other parent.
As stated above, one of the most important factors used by courts in deciding which custody dispute is in the best interests of the child is whether or not the child is living in the same household as the non-custodial parent. There are times when this is the only factor that is used in the determination. Again, when one of the parents is unemployed or has a court order to spend time with the children, then the primary caregiver may not be able to visit often enough to ensure the child has a positive connection with both parents. If this is a concern for you and your partner, you should certainly discuss your options with an experienced St. Louis family law attorney. Check out https://www.stlouisdivorcelawyers.net/child-custody/ to find the right lawyer for your case.
In the majority of cases, children do best when their parents work together to create a custody and visitation schedule that benefits them. Even if you and your spouse can’t agree on a schedule or on who will be the primary caregiver, mediation can often help solve these problems. Hopefully, if you’re going through a divorce, you and your partner will be able to work out an amicable arrangement that benefits your children.