When parents with minor children end their relationship, they have to figure out how to split up parenting responsibilities. Some people already had agreements in place with their spouse when they got married discussing how they would share custody. Others may negotiate a shared custody arrangement outside of court.
However, some parents don’t agree with one another about the right way to divide parental responsibilities. For example, one parent might try to deny the other parenting time just because they don’t want to interact with their ex during custody exchanges. Understanding how the Missouri courts handle custody disputes can help you prepare for custody litigation in your divorce.
Both parents have the right to parenting time
In Missouri, the courts prefer to arrange shared custody solutions. The state specifically requires that judges do their best to preserve both parental relationships. Having frequent time with both parents is considered a right of any child in the state.
Still, sometimes those rights don’t align with what is actually best for the child. Occasionally, judges may decide to give one parent sole custody or to significantly limit the time and authority they give to one parent because of family issues.
A judge should try to do what is in the best interests of the children, which may sometimes mean not leaving them in the control of a parent who has a history of neglect, abuse or severe substance abuse issues. If you believe that your ex is not currently capable of safely and appropriately parents and your children, presenting evidence of their problematic history to the court might lead to sole custody for you.
Proper evidence and the right perspective are crucial
Making unfounded allegations about abuse or chemical dependence likely won’t influence what the courts decide in your case. If anything, unsubstantiated claims might make you look vindictive or like someone who would interfere in the relationship that their children have with the other parent.
If you intended to ask for sole custody or at least significantly more parenting time and decision-making authority than your ex receives, keeping the focus of your arguments on what would be best for the children will increase your chances of success. Having documentation of the issues that you think should affect custody issues can also help.
Learning more about the basics of custody litigation in Missouri can help you prepare for your day in court.