One of the hardest decisions a judge can make is determining a child custody arrangement. Effective judges carefully consider the evidence and evaluate all relevant factors when making decisions, and these factors are outlined by Missouri’s statutes. Here, parents will learn more about these factors.
The Parents’ Wishes
While this isn’t the most important factor, if the child’s parents agree on custody, the court is typically reluctant to intervene. However, if the parents cannot agree, the court will consider both parents’ wishes along with other factors.
The Child’s Need for a Meaningful Relationship with Both Parents
Judges are required to establish custody plans that allow both parents to maintain close contact with the child unless the child’s best interests dictate otherwise. Consult a family law lawyer in Lee’s Summit, MO for help setting up a custody plan.
Relationships Between Children, Parents and Siblings
If the relationship between a child and a parent is a healthy and strong one, this factor weighs more heavily than some others. The judge must also consider the child’s relationship and level of contact with their siblings.
How Well the Child and Parents Are Doing
The family court judge will consider how well adjusted is the child to their community and home, and how a substantial change would affect them. The judge will also consider the child’s and both parents’ health concerns.
The Child’s Wishes
There’s no pre-set age where a child’s wishes become a determining factor in custody matters. How much consideration the judge gives this factor in relation to the others is dependent mostly on the child’s maturity and chronological age.
Consult a Child Custody Attorney Today
When parents cannot come to an agreement, the family court judge will enter an order which considers the above factors in light of the child’s best interests. While not every case results in a favorable outcome, Missouri’s family court judges try to make things as fair as possible. Visit the website for additional details or call Dana Outlaw Law Office to request a consultation with a family law lawyer in Lee’s Summit, MO. You can also visit them on Facebook.