Disagreements about child custody abound when parents decide to divorce. Frequently, they may disagree about how to divide parenting time and how to share responsibility, as well as what decisions would be in the best interests of their children. A custody order and an in-depth parenting plan can help to clarify those issues, but they are only pieces of paper.
Either parent may decide on their own that they don’t intend to abide by the parenting plan that they signed or the custody order imposed by a Missouri family law judge. While most parents eventually figure out how to put their children first, some will always impose their own selfish preferences on their family circumstances.
Does one parent have to worry about the other preventing them from seeing their children after a divorce or break up in Missouri?
Both parents typically have rights
From the earliest moments of a divorce involving minor children, the courts will usually focus on preserving the parental relationships. It is common for there to be a temporary custody order put in place at the time of filing, followed by a final order entered when the couple finally reaches a settlement or a judge rules on their case.
With rare exceptions, such as scenarios in which one parent could reasonably claim that the other would potentially put the children at risk, Missouri parents usually share custody. Even if they won’t have a 50/50 split of time with the children, they should have a liberal amount of parenting time and some say in important decisions about the children. In cases where unmarried parents break up, the process could have an extra step. An unmarried father might need to affirm his paternity by filing certain paperwork with the state. Either with the cooperation or the mother or through genetic testing, an unmarried father can secure parenting time and other parental rights.
When one parent does not follow the parenting plan, the other can potentially ask the family courts for help. Enforcement actions can result in make-up parenting time for canceled sessions and possibly consequences for the parent who interfered in the relationship that the other has with the children. Neither parent should seek to interfere in the relationship that the other has with the children or damage how the children perceive the other parent.
Attempts at alienation could impact how a judge decides to split parental rights, as they may view it as a sign that one parent will not put the needs of the children first. Learning more about the factors that influence custody matters in Missouri and the rights of parents facing a change in their family situation may help those worried about interference concerning their bond with their kids.