Missouri custody laws state the court is required to determine what is in the best interests of the children. There are two components to the custody of a child that the court must determine. The court must decide which parent will have, or how both parents will share, the decision-making rights, responsibilities, and authority relating to the health, education and welfare of the child. This is referred to as legal custody.
The court must also decide where the child will have and how the parents will share the physical time with the child. This component is referred to as physical custody.
Missouri custody laws provide that the court is required to consider all relevant factors including:
- The wishes of the child’s parents as to custody and the proposed parenting plan submitted by both parties;
- The needs of the child for a frequent, continuing and meaningful relationship with both parents and the ability and willingness of parents to actively perform their functions as mother and father for the needs of the child;
- The interaction and interrelationship of the child with parents, siblings, and any other person who may significantly affect the child’s best interests;
- Which parent is more likely to allow the child frequent, continuing and meaningful contact with the other parent;
- The child’s adjustment to the child’s home, school, and community;
- The mental and physical health of all individuals involved, including any history of abuse of any individuals involved;
- The intention of either parent to relocate the principal residence of the child; and
- The wishes of a child as to the child’s custodian.