Almost everyone would like what’s best for their children in a custody battle, and the state of Missouri is no exception. The state of Missouri is obligated to determine child custody issues according to the children’s best interests. Judges are never allowed to award sole physical custody based solely on one parent’s sex, income, place or any other non-factual criterion. Even if a child has special needs such as deafness or autism, it is not a valid reason to deny a parent equal custody.
In cases where custody is decided between the parents, or in the event that the parents can’t agree on an arrangement, the court system will usually require mediation. Mediation is when a third party tries to help the parents come to an agreement without having to take the case to trial. The court system will allow the mediator to determine if the parenting plan is in the best interest of the child. If both parents are willing to pursue a trial, then a jury will be selected and will determine custody. The St. Louis courts will only accept custody agreements that have been recommended by the state’s child custody lawyer or a neutral third-party judge.
Once the case has been decided, it will then be up to the Missouri State Court to accept or deny custody. If the parents are unable to come to an agreement, then the case will move forward to the Missouri State Court. If either parent is opposed to the idea of mediation, then they must file a motion to refuse the request for mediation. If the court believes that the motion to refuse is frivolous, then they will require the parent to provide documentation regarding why they believe that the request for mediation is frivolous.
Parents who wish to use mediation as a means to an end, but are not in agreement with one another regarding the custody of their grandchildren, can file a motion for summary judgment. This motion is used to show that there is a dispute between the parents and the grandparents about the custody of their grandchildren. It is important to note that the courts take a dim view of grandparents filing frivolous motions and most times, they are denied. Therefore, it is critical that parents are very careful about what they submit to the courts. Grandparents should consider using a professional family law attorney in this matter. An attorney who has experience with Missouri Grandparent Child Custody laws will be able to give the grandparents a fair shot at winning the custody battle. To help you in this case, you may visit www.stlouisdivorcelawyers.net/child-custody/.
If the parents wish to proceed without the assistance of an attorney, then they must take the issue to the St. Louis Circuit Court. If the parents are able to agree on a custody and visitation schedule, then the case will move forward. If not, then both sides will present their case to the Circuit Court. Once the court accepts the custody and visitation schedule, then the parents are obligated to abide by the court’s orders regarding their children.
In addition to child custody, the parents must also work out an agreement regarding the major issues surrounding the custody and upbringing of their children including any relationship with the other parent. The major issues include physical custody, physical appearance, legal custody, holiday/disability custody, parental control, guardian ad litem, visitation schedule, and ongoing contact with the child. A parent seeking physical custody of the child must submit a document called the Parental Notice of Intention to the Office. Along with this document, the father or mother must provide documentation about the child’s current residence, health care needs, education, character, and living situation. The mother and father will also have to provide documentation concerning their parenting plan, financial information, and a list of their assets.