Missouri parents: Be prepared for upcoming child custody changes

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in child custody on Wednesday, July 27, 2016.

Family legal matters can be very difficult to resolve without legal support, particularly because the laws governing them are often changing. Recently, for instance, a law passed in Missouri that changes how judges will be required to approach and resolve child custody cases.

Previously, courts could make assumptions about which parent may be better suited to serve as the custodial parent. The new law, however, prohibits such an assumption and instead requires the courts to start every case assuming each parent is an equally qualified parent. Adjustments will then be made based on the unique factors of the individual situation.

As noted in local news reports, the law will go into effect in a matter of weeks. At that point, courts will be prohibited from making presumptions about sex and visitation plans, meaning the gender of neither the parents nor the children will affect custody awards.

Supporters of the new measure maintain that the amendment will predominantly help fathers, who often have to fight harder for more custody than mothers have to. The amendment also highlights the fact that starting off with the assumption of equal parenting will help kids, as it makes it more likely that they will be able to spend substantial and meaningful time with each parent.

Critics have argued that presuming equal custody is best has the potential to be dangerous. For instance, if a parent has a violent or abusive history or if there are concerns about neglect, then equal parenting would generally not be wise, and it could ultimately put a child’s best interests in danger.

There are also people who argue that the new law isn’t all that new, as many courts have already utilized this approach for years.

Regardless of your take on this particular change in the law, it should serve as a confidence-booster to any parent who fears they will not get the custody and parenting time they deserve. Having legal representation can also provide a critical boost in confidence as you navigate the complex family legal system.

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