What types of custody are there in Missouri?

Child custody is divided into two categories in Missouri, legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody deals with decision making rights and responsibilities, whereas physical custody deals with who has the children and when. There is an overwhelming preference for joint legal and joint physical custody. Under a joint legal custody arrangement, both parents have an equal say regarding decisions for the children, such as education, healthcare, discipline, religion, and all other important decisions. Note that the day to day routine/care decisions are made by the parent who actually has physical custody at the time. In a joint physical arrangement, both parents share time on some sort of schedule, but that schedule is not 50/50 unless that is agreed by the parties. It is important to note that there are many different parenting schedules under a joint physical custody arrangement, and joint physical custody simply means that both parents have time with the children. There is no such thing as "full custody" in Missouri, although one parent will be designated for education and mailing purposes as the custodial parent. In limited circumstances, sole legal or sole physical custody can be awarded to one parent, which would exclude the other parent from decision making, physical parenting time, or both.

Mark A. Wortman

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Kansas City family law attorney Mark A. Wortman handles only divorce and family law matters, and practices only in the State of Missouri. Due to this specialty, Mark has handled thousands of Missouri divorce and family cases and has practiced extensi… Read More