It’s no secret that divorces, especially those involving children, are tough. They can be one of the most stressful things a family can experience. If you are going through a divorce, the added stress of a child custody dispute can seem like too much to handle. Knowledge is power, and KC Road Lawyers is here to break down the details regarding current trends in Missouri toward 50/50 visitation plans in custody matters.
First, when custody is disputed, the courts consider 8 factors when determining custody.
- The parents’ wishes, and the parenting plans proposed by both parents.
- The needs of the children relating to their parental relationships, as well as how fit and willing each parent is to carry out their parental responsibilities.
- How the children interact with each parent as well as other people who will be in the children’s lives.
- Which parent is less likely to limit or discontinue the children’s contact with the other parent.
- How well the children have adjusted to their current home, school, and community.
- The physical and mental health of each parent and other involved individuals, especially any history of domestic violence.
- Whether either parent intends to relocate the children.
- The children’s wishes regarding custody.
In 2016, Missouri passed MO HB1550, a bill that addressed some custody and visitation issues including the ability for a noncustodial parent to enforce the parenting plan when the other parent is withholding visitation. This bill also states that 50/50 custody must at least be considered when establishing custody. In the past, some judges adopted default parenting plans that restricted the noncustodial parent’s time with their children to every other weekend, or 4 nights per month. HB 1550 made it more difficult for judges to continue this practice of restricting a noncustodial parent’s visitation in a parenting plan without additional findings.
HB1550 suggests 50/50 visitation parenting plans as an option and this has created a trend in many courts to adopt parenting plans with 50/50 visitation between parents. However, the court is not required to adopt these parenting plans with equal parenting time. There is legislation pending in the Missouri legislature that would create a presumption that the 50/50 visitation parenting plans are in the best interests of children.
KC Road Lawyers has the experience and expertise to defend your custody rights in Missouri, so don’t fight a custody battle without an experienced family law attorney on your side.
If you have any questions about child custody laws and parenting plans, or need to retain a divorce attorney in Missouri, contact attorney Chris Benjamin at KC Road Lawyers by calling 816-425-2420 / 660-679-4161 or navigating to our contact page for a consultation at the firm’s Lee’s Summit or Butler Missouri offices.