Types of Child Custody in Missouri
Child custody is one of the most challenging issues to settle in a divorce. Both parents want as much time as possible with their children, which can make it difficult to reach an agreement. Because each family is different, an arrangement in one case may not be suitable in any other.
Fortunately, there is more than one type of child custody to consider during this process. Missouri’s terms for child custody includes the following: sole, joint, physical, and legal. These terms for custody determine where a child lives as well as which parent can make certain important decisions for their child.
What Is Physical Custody?
Physical custody refers to the parent with whom a child lives. This parent is responsible for providing a safe, clean, and habitable dwelling for their child, along with basic necessities such as food, clothing, and medical care.
What Is Legal Custody?
Legal custody refers to a parent’s right to make important legal decisions for their raising a child. These decisions can range from schooling to medical care, religious upbringing, extracurricular activities, and more.
What Is Sole Custody?
Sole custody refers to an arrangement where one parent is granted both physical and legal custody of their child. The other parent may have visitation rights, but the child doesn’t live with this parent and this other parent may not have the legal right to make important decisions on their child’s behalf.
Sole custody may be awarded in cases which includes but is not limited to where one parent doesn’t contest the other’s request for sole custody, or the judge believes it’s not in a child’s best interests for a parent to have joint custody. Such cases may involve a parent’s history with substance abuse, domestic violence, criminal background, or other factors.
What is Joint Custody?
Joint custody is an arrangement where both parents share legal and/or physical custody. Generally speaking, the courts prefer to award joint custody whenever possible. This is because studies have shown children benefit emotionally when both parents are involved in their lives.
Joint custody arrangements can vary. Both parents can have equal access to their children. Or one may have sole physical custody with joint legal custody. Or, the parents may have joint physical custody and one parent has sole legal custody.
Do You Need Help with Child Custody?
If you require legal assistance with a child custody matter, Galmiche Law Firm, P.C. can help. We have experience dealing with child custody matters during divorce as well as post-judgment modifications to alter a child custody agreement.