Courts Bulletin:Child Custody

Evidence of abuse of a party must be allowed in child custody proceeding. KRP, a Minor by her Next Friend, Gleanice Brown, and Gleanice Brown, Individually, Respondent, v. Curtis Penyweit, Appellant, No. 66003 (Mo. App. W.D., April 24, 2007), Smith, J.
The parties were vying for custody in this paternity action. Father attempted to introduce evidence that mother had physically abused him in the past. Mother's attorney objected to its relevancy unless the child at issue was present at the time. The trial court sustained the objection. Mother was awarded sole custody, and father appealed.
Held: Reversed. “Giving the language of the statute its plain and ordinary meaning, there is no language in section 452.375.2(6) that would in any way limit the court's consideration to abuse occurring only in the presence of the child. In fact, the language says just the opposite. The statute refers to 'any' abuse of 'any' individual involved.”

Source: Missouri Bar