One of the biggest concerns in a Missouri divorce is how it impacts children. A dispute between the parents as to how custody will be handled can cause problems in myriad ways. The parents will see their relationship worsen and the child can have a series of negative side effects from the constant disagreement. As a couple moves forward with the end of a marriage, it is important to keep the children in mind and to understand the different kinds of custody options that are available. To achieve a desirable outcome for the parents and a healthy resolution for the children, having legal advice is key.
In a divorce, there can be joint legal custody, joint physical custody and third-party custody. With joint legal custody, the parents will equally share the rights to make decisions on behalf of the child. The responsibility and authority to oversee the child’s health, education and welfare will be handled by both. The parents will be obligated to confer when making decisions regarding the child.
Joint physical custody gives the parents significant time in which the child will reside with each parent. It does not necessarily need to be equal time. When the child is with a parent, that parent will handle the child’s care and supervision. With joint physical custody, the parents will share the child so he or she has meaningful and regular contact with both parents.
Third-party custody will designate a person separate from the parents who will have legal and physical custody of the child. This will be done if the court decides that the parents are unable, unfit or unsuitable to care for the child and it fits in with the child’s best interest to have another person be granted custody. The goal is for the child to have a safe and stable environment.
Children are often caught in the middle when their parents get a divorce. The courts will do their best to protect the children and provide them with a nurturing environment while trying to give the parents reasonable time with the child. It can be a difficult tightrope to walk. When there is a divorce and child custody is a concern, it is critical for the parents to have legal advice from the beginning. Calling a firm that handles family law in all its aspects is the first step to take.