Determining child custody is one of the most difficult aspects for Missouri couples going through a divorce. Being prepared for a hearing can have a real impact on the outcome, especially when it comes to question asked by the judge. The Spruce offers insight on what you can expect, from questions about finances to how you communicate with your ex-spouse.

Are You Seeking Sole or Joint Custody?

Questions regarding your custody arrangement will be the focus during a hearing. In most cases, courts prefer to grant both parents joint custody, as the goal is to ensure a child has a healthy relationship with both parents. One parent may request sole custody however, and this requires providing proof that the other parent is not fit to care for a child. Parents will often seek sole custody when there is a history of abuse or neglect, or if the other parent suffers from a drug addiction or mental illness.

Are You Financially Stable?

Because raising a child can be expensive, the judge will also ask questions about your current financial status. This entails both parents showing proof of income, as well as how much debt each is currently facing. If sole custody is ultimately awarded, the non-custodial parent will also be obligated to pay child support (which is sometimes decided at the custody hearing). 

What Is Your Current Level of Communication?

The way you communicate with your ex will be extremely important if you’re both granted joint custody. Good communication is key to the decision-making process, especially when it comes to things like medical care and education. You want to express to the court that you and your ex can discuss issues in a civil and respectable manner, which is deemed to be in the best interest of the child at the center of a custody case.