How is child custody determined in Missouri?
In Missouri, there is a very strong preference for joint legal (decision making) and joint physical (sharing time with the children) custody arrangements. Note that this does not mean 50/50 parenting time, as there are many different types of schedules under a joint custody arrangement. The court usually defers to the parents in what is in the interests of the children, and there is strong preference among Kansas City area judges that the mother and father come to an agreement regarding custody. If this cannot be done, then the court will determine custody by examining the following: Wishes of the parents, stability of the parents, the need for frequent and meaningful contact with both parents, wishes of the child (if appropriate), the ability of the parents to adequately parent the children, the safety of the home, the parents' work schedules, any history of physical or emotional abuse against any person including the child, any physical or mental conditions that may affect custody, and any other relevant factors.